VA Bettors Still Can’t Bet On In-State NCAA Basketball Teams Or College Player Props

Written By Phil West on March 22, 2024
VA bettors couldn't bet on the Cavaliers in the NCAAB tournament

In a play-in game that fans will want to soon forget, the Virginia Cavaliers men’s basketball team lost on Tuesday night, dropping a 67-42 contest to Colorado State to exit the NCAA Tournament just as quickly as they entered.

It was a bad night for the Cavaliers, who were down 27-14 at the half and sustained a scoring drought that lasted for over 12 minutes. As it turns out, a lot of bettors believed in Virginia, to their detriment.

Virginia was a slight underdog with +110 moneyline odds, which was the most popular bet of the day at BetMGM Sportsbook.

But even though Virginia sports betting is legal, there’s a rule that bettors in the Commonwealth can’t put money down on Virginia’s college sports teams. That may have saved some Virginia fans money.

No betting on in-state college teams in VA, for now

Sen. Schuyler T. VanValkenburg backed a bill to reverse the restriction on betting on in-state Virginia college teams. SB 124 cleared its first Senate hurdle, but ultimately the bill was parked until 2025. That means still no betting on the Commonwealth’s college sports teams for this year’s NCAA basketball tournaments.

Virginia bettors have another limitation when it comes to betting on college sports. According to state law, prop bets are out—and that’s a facet of the law that SB 124 wasn’t going to address.

When James Madison University takes to the court on Friday morning, any Virginians looking to bet the Dukes to upset No. 5 seed Wisconsin at legal betting apps won’t be able to do so. Those who do want to wager have options though, including neighboring North Carolina, which just made online sports betting legal.

In fact, Virginians have their pick of surrounding states. In addition to North Carolina, they could bet on Virginia college teams in Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia and Maryland.

Could VA betting limitations send tax revenue to surrounding states?

According to SB 124 bill sponsors: “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.”

Now that Virginia is surrounded by legal online sports betting states, some betting dollars and thus tax revenue are likely to migrate out of state. That is, at least, when Virginia college teams are playing or if bettors want to place wagers on college player props.

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Phil West

Phil West is a longtime journalist based in Austin, Texas, whose bylines have appeared in The Daily Dot, Nautilus, Pro Soccer USA, Howler, Los Angeles Times, Seattle Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, San Antonio Express-News, Austin American-Statesman, and Austin Chronicle. He has also written two books about soccer.

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