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Legal sports betting to debut in Virginia early next year

Published: Jul. 20, 2020 at 8:20 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) -As state lawmakers voted to expand gambling this year, casinos received most of the attention, but another form of wagering will soon be legal in Virginia.

Online sports betting is on the way, and it could be here by early next year.

State lawmakers didn’t give the lottery much time to lay the groundwork for sports betting.

They set an aggressive agenda before COVID-19, and as Executive Director Kevin Hall recently told members of the Virginia Lottery Board, that timeline stands.

“I’ve compared this accelerated rule-making process to building the airplane while flying it,” Hall said during the meeting. “And by now, I think you understand exactly what I mean.”

Ultimately, the state will issue between four and twelve sports betting licenses, imposing a 15-percent tax rate on net revenue, which should bring the state about $45 million annually by year five.

“Our primary goal throughout this process is to construct responsible regulations in a transparent way, to protect consumers and to provide some reasonable and clear rules of the road for the sports book operators,” Hall said. “I remain confident that we’re on that path.”

The lottery will accept applications in October and review them for 90 days. The agency expects to issue the first licenses for legal online sports betting in Virginia early in 2021.

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