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Virginia Will Debate Sports Betting in January 2019

November 7, 2018

Virginia has become the most recent state to take up the discussion of legalized sports betting. A bill to legalize sports betting in Virginia will be debated by the state legislature when it begins a new session in January 2019. 

State Delegate Marcus Simon of the 53rd District believes that the addition of live casinos in nearby Maryland provides the impetus for legalization. Simon thinks that Virginia's efforts to allow its residents to wager on sports will prevent money from leaving the state. He has also acknowledged that residents in Virginia and other jurisdictions seem to have an "appetite" for sports betting. 

The most likely plan for Virginia would include creating sportsbooks that are attached to the state's horse racing venues. Sports betting could be added to the menu at racetracks and at off-track betting parlors. Virginia does not permit casino gambling, so there are no casino venues in the state. 

Even though the measure will be looked at in January, Simon believes that it could be a year or more before the state moves forward with legalization. Time will be required for the state to commission studies to see if there is enough interest. There is also likely to be some opposition from some members of the Virginia delegation. It is shaping up to be a contentious matter for the delegates to debate. 

In many cases, the issue of sports betting gets pushed to the back in favor of more pressing concerns. Simon hopes that this is not the case this time. He believes it is time for the state to give sports betting serious consideration. Legalized sports betting could also pave the way for online sportsbooks in the state at some point in the future.


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