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Virginia Continues to Tweak Gambling and Betting Laws

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Virginia's gambling landscape continues to evolve, with lawmakers tinkering with existing laws and proposals but seemingly unsure of the ultimate direction. Recent legislative activity reveals concerns about casino locations, sports betting revenue, and even advertising language.

Shaping Virginia’s Casino Future

Hopeful news has reached Petersburg residents as their chance to vote on a local casino just got closer. Senate Bill 628, which grants Petersburg eligibility as Virginia's fifth casino location, sailed through the state Senate with unanimous support. After a 15-0 approval in the Finance and Appropriations Committee, the bill received a 40-0 vote on the Senate floor, clearing the way for its journey to the House.

Related: Virginia Lawmakers Discussing Casino, Sports Betting Bills

Senators Lashrecse Aird, Louise Lucas and Barbara Favola, along with other proponents, are optimistic about the bill reaching Governor Youngkin's desk. This news is particularly exciting considering Petersburg's neighbors in Richmond twice rejected similar proposals, leaving Petersburg as the closest contender for the coveted fifth gaming spot.

Meanwhile, dreams of a casino in Fairfax County are put on hold. Senate Bill 675, seeking to add Fairfax County to the eligibility list, faced a different fate. Following senators' requests for more information, the Finance and Appropriations Committee voted 13-2 to postpone the bill until 2025. This decision came as a surprise to many, leaving local residents with mixed emotions.

The contrasting journeys of these two casino bills highlight the complexities of Virginia's gambling landscape. While Petersburg celebrates its chance at a potential economic boost, Fairfax County residents must wait another year to see if their vision of a local casino will materialize.

Virginia Sports Betting Put in Timeout

Virginia bettors' dreams of betting on in-state college teams will have to wait another year. Senate Bill 124, which aimed to legalize such wagers, was punted to the 2025 legislative session by the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee on February 6th. Their unanimous 14-0 vote means Virginians won't get their shot at legally cheering on their local teams (and lining the state's coffers with tax revenue) anytime soon.

Currently, Virginia law throws a flag on bets involving in-state colleges, forcing fans to either cross state lines or dabble in unregulated, potentially risky, online platforms. Senator Schuyler VanValkenburg, the bill's quarterback, wanted to bring this game under legal control, arguing it would create a safer and more transparent playing field, while generating valuable touchdowns for the state's budget.

However, VanValkenburg's pass play faces a delay of downs. He'll need to re-introduce the bill in 2025 and navigate the hurdles of the House of Delegates before it can reach Governor Youngkin for potential approval. Whether Virginia ultimately legalizes betting on its own teams remains an open question, but fans will have to wait another season before the debate hits the field again.

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