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Virginia lawmakers announce intention to legalise sports betting

Virginia sports betting
Virginia state senator Chap Petersen says he aims to introduce legislation to legalize sports betting in the state, as part of his efforts to reduce tuition at community colleges.

Soon after the announcement, Mark Sickles of the Virginia House of Delegates came out with his sports betting proposal, suggesting a 15 per cent tax on revenue. This proposal according to him will generate $41 million annually to fund research at state universities.

The enthusiasm from the various states in legalising sports betting started in May after the Supreme Court’s ruling struck out the PASPA law that placed a federal ban on sports betting.

Mr Petersen touching on the future of sports betting said it was important Virginia got on the front foot with sports betting and got their slice of the pie.

“Sports gaming is going to be legal across the United States,” he said.

“There is no reason to keep it illegal when our neighbouring states are already moving to legalize. We should keep that business in Virginia, along with the tax revenue.”

Petersen is proposing the Virginia Sports Gaming Tuition Reduction Act which would allow localities to hold a referendum before licenses are issued. Also, tax revenue would be shared between the local governments and the state’s community college system.

Mr Petersen emphasized that under his proposal, college sports would be exempted from gambling.

However, despite banning betting on Virginia colleges and universities, Sickles’ proposal, “allows wagering on collegiate athletic tournaments in the commonwealth if allowed by the sponsoring league.”

His proposal gives the oversight of gambling expansion to the state lottery regulatory and authorises them to license up to five sports betting operators.

“This legislation provides a framework for an open, transparent and responsible market for legal sports betting,” he said.

“It will protect consumers while generating revenue to allow Virginia to compete for major research projects that create jobs and help to diversify our economy away from over-reliance on federal spending.”

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