It's been an uphill fight – and one that looked like it was never going to happen. But in the final innings, the Virginia legislator and governor's office finally approved online sports betting in the commonwealth.
Now comes the time to integrate the law and approve sites to offer online gambling. While the law states that online gambling can start July 1, 2020 odds are it will take longer than that. Casino operators will have to be fully vetted and their software providers will be looked into.
Most people think that betting on sports teams in the state will be possible in September or October. The commonwealth can grant up to 12 licenses for online betting shops. Existing casinos in the state will be given priority. In a last-minute nudge by the governor, NASCAR facilities were given the chance to apply for a license meaning Martinsville Speedway and Richmond Raceway will be applying for licenses.
People will not be allowed to bet on Virginia college events. The exception is that if a Virginia college teams make the finals then bets will be authorized.
Legislators have appeared to be at odds with the governor over the legislation. But at the last minute, everything came together. It was literally the last bill of the season to be passed.
Getting a license to offer online sports betting in Virginia will not be easy. Every operator will have to be fully vetted. They will have to prove they have enough cash on hand to deal with any potential big winners. Beyond that, they will have to prove that all software they provide will be safe and honest. Finally, they will have to prove that all financial transactions are safe.
These rules give a big advantage to operators who are already licensed in other states. They will have gone through this process before and know how to successfully navigate it. Newer operators will struggle to get past the hoops put up. That said we shall see who the 12 operators end up being. If nothing else it's a good day for gamblers in Virginia.