When a company is on the verge of expanding its business into a new segment of its industry, it’s wise to call upon others’ experience. That’s what the Virginia Lottery is doing as the state ventures into online gambling.
The lottery in VA has enlisted aid from a similar company in the neighboring state of Maryland. The melding of the minds has some interesting potential ramifications.
What’s the deal with the Virginia Lottery deal?
Earlier this year, Virginia became the second state to legalize sports betting in 2020. The law tasks the VA Lottery with regulating the new activity.
The law authorizes both online and retail wagering. While the VA Lottery is well-versed with in-person gambling, online gambling is brave new territory.
Enter the Maryland Lottery.
The MD Lottery has years of experience selling its products online, including maintaining a licensing structure in that state.
That last part is what the VA Lottery has contracted with the MD Lottery for, to this point, anyway. The MD Lottery will assist the VA Lottery with its licensing procedures for future sportsbook operators and the vendors that serve them.
That process isn’t as simple as paying a fee and turning in a form. It involves extensive background checks and financial reviews. It’s a tough task to create the regulatory infrastructure from scratch.
Working with the MD Lottery should streamline that process. At the same time, it creates some interesting storylines to follow later.
Possible ramifications of alliance
This November, Marylanders will vote whether to legalize sports betting within their borders. Should the measure pass, MD would eventually represent more competition for VA sportsbooks.
VA already faces the challenge of sports betting apps in Pennsylvania, Washington, DC, and West Virginia, along with the pending launch in Tennessee. MD’s legalization could make the region even more crowded.
By working with the MD Lottery, the VA Lottery could afford the Maryland Lottery some valuable insight into the regulation of legal sportsbooks. In turn, that may help the MD Lottery open sports betting in the state on a more aggressive timeline.
There’s another interesting twist to this narrative.
That aggressive rollout may enable Maryland to keep Washington, DC’s NFL franchise playing its home games.
One of the selling points of legalizing wagering on sporting events in VA was the chance to lure the team to VA instead. Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder hasn’t been bashful about wanting a new stadium for the team in a state with legal online wagering.
VA has been in a race to get legal sportsbooks up and running within its borders to avoid losing tax dollars to DC and WV. It’s a good move to avail itself of nearby expertise in that interest.
The move might also backfire by providing that same experience to a potential competitor in the future, however. That could go as far as to make a difference in whether NFL games are played in VA someday.