Online Sports Betting Near Debut in Virginia

The Virginia Lottery could approve activation of more than a dozen betting sites in January. The state has received more than 25 applications. In all, the state could produce a handle of $400 million in 2021, says Lottery Director Kevin Hall (l.).

The Virginia Lottery expects to say “yes” in January to activation of more than a dozen betting sites to take sports wagers. Officials predict as much as $400 million in handle in 2021, and rising from there.

Virginia Lottery Director Kevin Hall said the state received 25 applications for a license. The law requires the lottery to pick a minimum of four and a maximum of 12 providers. Sports organizations are not counted in the 12. So any applications submitted by the Washington NFL football team, the D.C. United soccer franchise or NASCAR could be approved for a license without affecting the limits.

Virginia’s tax rate of 15 percent is higher than some, lower than others.

Jessica Feil, a lobbyist with the American Gaming Association, said the industry believes a tax rate in the low teens is ideal.

While lottery proceeds in Virginia are dedicated to education, tax revenue from sports gambling will go to the state’s general fund. The state could realize as much as $5 million in the initial year and eventually generate $455 million a year, according to the Associated Press.

State Senator Jeremy McPike, a sponsor of the enabling legislation, is satisfied that the lottery regulations match legislators’ intent. The lottery expects to grant final approval to would-be operators sometime in January. Once that approval is granted, the companies can accept wagers.