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A study, conducted by The Innovation Group and Regulatory Management Counselors alongside the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, has determined that sports betting could bring up to $55 million annually in tax revenue to the state of Virginia.
The 202-page report broke down various avenues of possible legalization for Virginia’s lawmakers including sports betting, best online casinos, and physical casinos.
The study’s introduction states, “A fully developed sports wagering industry in Virginia could generate up to $55 million in annual gaming tax revenue for the state, depending on how it is structured, and online casino gaming could generate about $84 million each year.
“Unlike online casino gaming, which would most likely depend on the opening of casinos, sports wagering could be implemented without casinos and could be offered sooner.”
Virginia legislators submitted four bills to the 2019 legislative schedule with all four failing to garner enough support to move to the Governor’s desk for signature.
One of the more surprising suggestions from the study came in the form of adopting just online sports betting instead of waiting for the creation of physical sportsbooks.
The study said that implementing casinos after passing initial gaming laws could take upward of four years, although sports betting could come sooner if proper regulations were implemented and online operators were licensed.
On page 165 of the report reads, “It is possible for Virginia to launch sports betting ahead of potential casino operations by passing legislation to allow the Virginia Lottery, or a new Virginia gaming oversight agency, to regulate and oversee a sports wagering market.
“Virginia could offer sports wagering before casinos became operational by using existing pari-mutuel wagering facilities as sportsbook locations, using solely an online model, or through a combination of both.
“Virginia is unique because it is considering adding both sports wagering and casino gaming at the same time. Others states that have legalized sports wagering in recent years have had either an established casino industry or adopted sports wagering as a standalone expansion of gaming.
If the state chooses to go online sports betting only before casinos become operational, the wagering market would have a head start on the casino side of legalization in Virginia.
This possibility could provide immediate tax revenue as the state waited for the casinos to be built, but the study warns that by rushing for quick money, the casinos could become less attractive to outside sportsbooks.
On page 165-66 of the report, it states, “a fully online sports wagering product, with approximately four years to be implemented and mature (the time expected before casinos could be developed), could result in the sports wagering market being fully served before casinos were operational.
As a result, casinos could have difficulty attracting interested, high-quality, third-party sportsbook operators because of the perceived lack of potential for further market growth.”
The comprehensive study addressed a host of considerations that lawmakers will need to vet and assess before laws can be drawn up by legislators.
Since the state is completely barren of casinos, the timetable will undoubtedly be years in the making before local bettors will be able to place a wager.
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