VA to approve online poker, sports gambling
Several bills have received approval all the way through the top
Virginia may have a long history of trying to keep gambling out of the state, but that has all changed with a couple of signatures. Last Friday, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill that could pave the way for casinos, online poker and sports gambling to launch in the state.
Senate Bill 1126 (SB 1126) had to go through a number of changes before being accepted. However, it survived three months of grueling attention to make it to the governor’s desk for his signature. The bill was tweaked to define online gaming under the definition of casino gaming and reads, in part, “’Casino gaming’ means baccarat, blackjack, twenty-one, poker, craps, dice, slot machines, sports betting, roulette wheels, Klondike tables, punchboards, faro layouts, keno layouts, numbers tickets, push cards, jar tickets, pull tabs, online gaming, and any other activity that is authorized by the Board as a wagering game or device under Chapter 41 (§ 58.1-4100 et seq.).”
Only one casino license would be issued per city, and the land authorized for a casino must be either partially exempt from local property taxes or part of the gambling activity must be led by an Indian tribe in the state. The city must also have an unemployment rate of at least 5% and a poverty rate of a minimum of 20%.
A study will now be conducted by the Joint Legislative and Review Commission to review gaming in the state. The group must submit its report by December 1 and, provided there are no major issues, online gaming could start early next year. Brick-and-mortar casinos would be introduced later, following the successful completion of the location studies.