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Virginia Moving Forward With Groundbreaking Online Gaming Bill

March 27, 2019

Virginia has long been a state with a strong opposition to both online and offline gambling. The state is now poised to relax its stance on both with a bill that could expand casino and online gambling. Many people consider the measure to be a benchmark for attitudes as a whole in the US towards online casinos. 

The current bill has the potential to totally reverse the opinion of Virginia on gambling. It would allow live casinos to offer table games, slots, and sports betting, and the bill would also allow licensing for online operators that would provide the same gaming experience. 

While the bill is being celebrated by Virginia residents and has already been signed into law by the state's governor, some are approaching the measure with a wait-and-see attitude. There are provisions written into the bill that could delay the arrival of casino gaming in Virginia, and in some cases it could even prevent operators from setting up shop. 

SB 1126 sets forth a complex manner in which gaming will be introduced in Virginia. The first and foremost assertion of the bill is that it will not allow the first licensees to begin operations until July 1, 2020. That means that residents of the state will have to wait more than a full year to begin gambling online for real money. 

There are few states left in the US that do not have at least one live casino. Virginia is one of them. The state previously hosted horse racing at Colonial Downs racetrack, but that venue was closed in 2014 due to dwindling attendance. Now, racing is back at the track in a virtual form. Slot machine racing games allow players to make bets on video horse races from history. 

Virginia is trying to position itself to compete with states like Delaware and West Virginia which have already begun to allow sports betting. The potential of increased revenue from offline and online gambling has become a force that is too powerful for the state to ignore. 

The passage of SB 1126 does not legalize online gambling. The current measure only permits lawmakers to analyze the potential of gambling and produce a report. A favorable report would likely lead to the passage of a full bill that makes gambling legal. 

More and more US states are jumping on the gambling bandwagon. It seems that online casinos will soon be within reach of most US citizens regardless of where they live.


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