Captain Gambling: Weekly Industry News Update – 11/29/2020

Welcome to Captain Gambling’s weekly industry news digest, where we’ll give you all of the latest updates regarding gambling legislation in states across the country. Find out what’s happening where you are with our experts right here! 

This week’s top stories:

  • Michigan sports betting likely pushed back to 2021
  • Iowa approves 5 more agreements with sports betting & casino companies
  • Virginia to license sports betting in early 2021

Michigan

The arrival of legalized online sports betting in Michigan has faced yet another delay, meaning potential bettors will have to wait until early 2021 at the very least. 

The Great Lakes State legalized sports betting back in December of 2019 and got down to business straight away creating the rules and regulations required to allow online sports betting to go live officially. The Covid-19 pandemic then put the breaks on things sharply, pushing everything back. The original plan had scheduled the live sports betting launch date to be ahead of the start of the NFL season. When the Covid-19 pandemic halted things, that date was pushed back to Thanksgiving. And now that Thanksgiving weekend has been and gone, Michigan residents have now been told they’ll have to wait until 2021 before they can bet on sports – with experts hoping it will arrive in time for the Super Bowl. 

Michigan have already launched in-person sports betting via retail shops, however fans were quickly dealt a blow as the Great Lakes State was shut down just 5 days after. 

Iowa

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission have this month signed a further 5 agreements with sports betting and casino companies, it’s been reported, with more gambling companies taking an interest. 

Betting companies are taking a keen interest in the Hawkeye State as a big change in registration rules is set to happen in January next year. From New Year’s Day 2021 ( Jan. 1st), Iowa residents will no longer be required to register in-person in order to place bets on sports and play in casinos. Iowans will have the choice between registering online or in-person at a casino. Given that each casino is allowed to sign an agreement with 3 sports betting providers each,  sports wagering companies are now lining up to get in on the action. 

Virginia

It’s been announced this week that Virginia is expecting to launch sports betting in early 2021, with casinos set to follow over a year later, in Spring 2022. 

Virginia Lottery Director, Kevin Hall, announced the proposed timeline during his presentation in a presentation to the House of Delegates Appropriations Committee on Tuesday. Virginia Lottery has reportedly already received 25 sports betting applications. Not all 25 will be approved though, as the law only permits a maximum of 12 licenses to be given out.

There is, however, a potential loophole which could pave the way for extra licenses, as sports betting operators that are tied to a sports venue won’t count towards the 12 license cap. WynnBet is hopeful of utilizing the loophole should they not be granted one of the 12 licenses, as the operator is in partnership with Martinsville Speedway and Richmond Raceway. However, it’s not yet clear if auto racing venues will be considered as sports venues under the new law. 

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