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Election Day Opens Up U.S. Sports and Online Gambling Market

November 13, 2020

Election day often plays a pivotal role in the lawmaking process. As a point of reference, six states used proposition voting in last week's election to increase gambling access within their respective states. Among the states that passed sports betting and or online gambling legislation were Maryland, Colorado, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Louisiana.

The sixth member of this group is Virginia. This is one of the states where industry experts believed there would be issues trying to get any kind of gambling legislation passed. Prior to election day, the only gambling activities that were legal in Virginia was the state's lottery and pair mutual wagering on horses.

According to election results, Virginia residents in four cities approved the introduction of retail casinos in their respective cities. The four cities include Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, and Portsmouth.

Earlier this year, the state legislature passed legislation that permits sports betting. While sports betting services are not yet available, the regulatory process is slated to begin in the early part of 2021. Later in the year, mobile sports betting should be up and running with the possibility of online gambling activities following suit by the end of the year.

This shift in attitude towards gambling in Virginia caught some experts by surprise. According to Ayesha Khanna Molino, a senior vice president of government affairs for MGM Resorts, in a released statement to the press:

“What a shift we’ve seen there, from one of the most gambling-skeptical states in the region to being a state wholeheartedly welcoming in so many forms — casinos, sports betting, lottery. It’s a sea change. Now hopefully they can stay on track in terms of timeline launches.”

FanDuel Government Affairs Director Stacie Stern was also quick to note that this sudden change in attitude bodes well for online gambling in the rest of the country. That's with the exception of Utah where legalized gambling might never occur.

Gambling Legislation in the Other States

Here's a quick summary of gambling legislation that was voted in around the rest of the country.

Maryland — Voters passed sports betting legislation by a count of 2-to-1.

Colorado — Voters approved the permitting of certain gambling locales to set their own betting limits.

South Dakota — Voters approved sports betting for its Deadwood casinos.

Nebraska — Three bills passed, including one that approves games of chance (casino) at local race tracks.

Louisiana — In what is a complicated process, voters in 55 of 64 parishes sent their approval for legislators to legalize sports betting.

In all five cases, online sports betting and casino gambling would be the next logical steps.


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