Virginia’s In-State College Betting Ban Isn’t Going Anywhere Yet

Written By Steve Schult on February 2, 2022
Virginia's in-state college betting ban

The Virginia sports betting market won’t be lifting its in-state college betting ban anytime soon. A Virginia House of Delegates subcommittee squashed a bill that would’ve allowed Virginians to bet on any of the state’s many popular collegiate programs.

Del. Schuyler VanValkenberg, a Democrat representing Virginia’s 72nd District, introduced HB 1127 in mid-January.

The bill was very straightforward. It would simply lift the ban and allow Virginians to wager on one of the state’s 14 NCAA Division I college athletic programs. For example, fans of the University of Virginia Cavaliers or the Virginia Tech Hokies wouldn’t need to travel to a neighboring state to place a bet on their favorite teams.

The proposal would likely further stimulate one of the fastest-growing sports betting markets in the country. However, lawmakers weren’t willing to lift the ban in exchange for more tax revenue.

Lifting in-state college betting ban wasn’t popular with GOP

Lawmakers referred the legislation to the Committee on General Laws on the day it was introduced. Subsequently, the bill was assigned to Subcommittee No. 3, which was comprised of five Republicans and three Democrats.

On Tuesday, the subcommittee voted on 25 bills. When it came to HB 1127, the lawmakers voted 6-2 in favor of tabling the bill.

“Tabling the bill” sounds like the lawmakers could revisit the issue. However, according to the U.S. Government Publishing Office, tabling a bill is disposing of it.

VanValkenberg or another Virginia lawmaker must submit another bill during the next legislative session in an effort to lift the ban.

The 6-2 margin was nearly a straight party-line vote. All five Republicans voted against it, as did one of the three Democrats. Del. Luke Torian was the only Democrat who voted to keep the ban in place.

Del. Roxann Robinson, Del. Barry Knight, Del. James Morefield, Del Jeffrey Campbell and Del. Hyland Fowler Jr. joined Torian in voting to table the bill. Del. Paul Krizek and VanValkenberg himself were the only “nay” votes.

PlayVirginia reached out to multiple members of the subcommittee for comment but didn’t receive a response at the time of publishing.

Despite ban, VA sports betting set to flourish

The outcome is a disappointment for many Virginia sports fans and bettors, but nothing has changed.

In other words, Virginia is still one of the most successful sports betting markets in the country. The Commonwealth just celebrated the one-year anniversary of the market’s rollout.

In those first 12 months, bettors wagered a whopping $3.2 billion with the state’s online sportsbooks. As a result, Virginia became one of the first states to generate more than $3 billion in its first year.

In addition, brick-and-mortar sportsbooks will be available to gamblers soon. Four Las Vegas-style casinos in Old Dominion are coming in 2022 and 2023. Those properties will only further increase the already massive numbers.

Photo by AP / Don Petersen
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Steve Schult

Steve Schult has covered the gambling world for the last decade. With stints as a staff writer for the World Series of Poker and Bluff Magazine, as well as the online content manager for Card Player Media, the New York native covered high-stakes poker tournaments and the overall casino industry. He’ll shift most of his focus to the Virginia, Maryland and Florida markets as a managing editor for Catena Media.

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