How Virginia Online Casino Games And VA Lottery Can Thrive Together

Written By Russ Mitchell on October 4, 2022 - Last Updated on August 1, 2023
Virginia online casino games

Virginia games of chance are just a mouse click away, but the state has only scratched the surface with its online scratch tickets. Experts from other states know a path to establish Virginia online casino games.

Count Laura Burd among the group of experts who could help a Virginia online casino effort.

She served as senior counsel for the Pennsylvania Control Board as that state developed its online casino policy. She saw rules and regulations bounce from committee to committee.

“It is a new area of gaming and has a lot of elements that your land-based staff is unfamiliar with,” she said at the Sept. 21 iDEA Growth Power Lunch Summit webinar called: The Case for Legal iGaming in Your State.

Executive Director Henry Williams of the Michigan Gaming Control Board and Burd both encouraged prospective online casino markets to borrow ideas from states with the online games in place.

“There is no need to reinvent the wheel,” Burd said. “We had New Jersey, our neighbor, that had already implemented and had been operating iGaming for a couple of years.”

Pennsylvania policymakers studied New Jersey policy. The regulators in NJ were extremely helpful as well.

“And I know that Pennsylvania, although I’m not there, I know that their staff — I can speak for them — would be extremely helpful and open to assisting future jurisdictions.”

Virginia would see some differences. And, online slots may be down the road since the casino industry is still new.

As of now, four Virginia casinos are in the works. A fifth city could vote one in as well. Meanwhile, plenty of Virginia online lottery options are available.

Casino rules differ from iGaming

Burd said online casino games call for different audit trails and a thorough understanding of recordkeeping and security.

“The differences are the skill set,” she said. “The iGaming space has a lot of technical elements that aren’t present in the land-based world. So learning what those are and how to regulate them efficiently is a hurdle.”

Michigan state Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. told webinar attendees that his state had its share of gambling opponents. But society has eased some of the resistance. The key to passing online casino in Michigan was:

  • Keeping everyone at the table,
  • and keeping perfect from being the enemy of good.

“We actually had to renegotiate language at two o’clock in the morning,” Hertel said. “So I had treasury’s lobbyists, my chief of staff, somebody from the governor’s office and somebody from gaming control in a room.”

Online casino legislation passed the next day.

“I think a lot of public thought sports gaming would be the one that really propelled us to a lot of revenue. And that’s really not the case. The iGaming really is what the giant leap in what our estimates were.”

Virginia online casino games and Virginia Lottery

But, would Virginia online casino games take money away from the Virginia Lottery? Not necessarily.

Like Virginia, Michigan has online lottery offerings. Hertel called online lottery plays “the biggest obstacle” to online casino in his state. It can work with the right tax structure, however.

Hertel learned that Michigan’s online casino game customer is different than its Michigan Lottery customer. He also said: “You have to remember we were one of the early adopters. So there was those fears were very, very much out there at that time.”

“We have not seen a loss in our iLottery dollars or physical lottery dollars. In fact, lottery dollars have gone up — partially probably because of the pandemic.”

“I think in all honesty, at the end of the day, the only stakeholders that were left opposed to the bill, were traditional anti-gaming advocates that I think have been weakened in states like ours,” Hertel said.

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Russ Mitchell

Russ Mitchell covered news and sports in Iowa since 1997, including 11 years as managing editor for one of the most decorated community newspapers in the state. He joined PlayIA as a lead writer and managing editor in 2021. He anxious to explore the growing Virginia gaming industry.

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