Virginia’s In-State College Sports Betting Bill Gets First Stamp Of Approval

Written By Dan Holmes on January 25, 2024
Photo of Virginia basketball players for story on VA in-state college sports betting bill passing through sub-committee in state Senate

A restriction that prohibits betting on in-state college sporting events in Virginia is one step closer to being removed

Senate Bill 124, which would allow wagers on approved in-state college sports events, passed through the gaming sub-committee of the Senate General Laws and Technology Committee on Wednesday. The only exemption is that bettors couldn’t place wagers on in-state college props.

What happens next with SB 124?

Schuyler T. VanValkenburg, a member of the Virginia State Senate, and a Democrat, introduced SB 124 earlier this month. The bill is now referred to the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee.

Currently, sportsbooks in Virginia can offer odds on college sports, but only for games involving teams outside of the state.

SB 124 would allow bets on college games, including University of Virginia football and basketball, as well as events that include Virginia Tech, Liberty, and James Madison. However, prop bets would still not be allowed. That means bettors could still not wager on how many yards a quarterback will throw for, or whether a player will achieve a triple-double on the basketball court, and so on. Current VA law bans prop betting on college sports involving non-VA teams too.

Likely reason behind lawmakers pushing for in-state college betting

The impetus for the bill seems to be popular opinion and pressure from sports fans in the state. In an impact statement filed with the bill, the language reads that “allowing wagering on Virginia college sports may increase overall sports wagering activity and may increase taxable adjusted gross revenues, or it may shift wagering dollars and result in a net neutral tax revenue impact.”

More than 30 states have legalized sports betting since the 2018 US Supreme Court ruling that paved the way for the expansion of gambling across the country. Most states have allowed college betting on schools located within their own borders, though a handful have not. 

College football, basketball, hockey, and baseball are typically the most popular forms of sports bets at the collegiate levels. College football ranks only behind NFL betting in many states in terms of total handle.

If SB 124 eventually passes in that Senate, the bill would be sent to the Virginia House of Delegates for committee review, debate, and a possible vote.

Photo by AP Photo/Chuck Burton
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Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes has written three books about sports. He previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. He enjoys writing, running, and lemon bars. He lives near Lake Michigan with his daughters and usually has an orange cream soda nearby.

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