Lawmakers Bar ‘Virginia Is For Bettors’ Slogan From Gambling Companies

When it comes to sports betting, it looks like “Virginia is not for bettors,” at least not as a marketing tool for gambling companies. 

Senate Bill 96 bars the use of the phrase on any marketing materials from sports betting companies or any other gambling organization.

The legislation is now headed to Governor Youngkin for his consideration,” Jeff Ryer, spokesman for state Sen. Thomas Norment, the main sponsor of the legislation, said in an email to Gaming Today

The bill passed the Senate 40-0, and the House 58-35.

The state’s official tourism slogan since 1969 has been “Virginia is for lovers.” Norment’s bill makes sure gambling interests can’t infringe on the iconic phrase. 

“Frankly, it annoyed me,” Norment said during a subcommittee hearing earlier this year, about his reaction to seeing an ad using the ‘Virginia is for bettors’ tagline. 

“We’ve spent a lifetime trying to market ‘Virginia is for Lovers.’ I just felt it was trespassing on it.”

Other Virginia Sports Betting Bills Died This Year

The 2022 Virginia legislative session is more than halfway over, and it appears Norment’s bill is the only one that will pass this year. 

Senate Bill 576, sponsored by state Sen. T. Montgomery Mason, would have lifted the ban on bets on Virginia college games. It died in a Senate committee last month. 

House Bill 1103, sponsored by Del. Mark Sickles, would have barred sportsbooks from excluding promos or bonuses offered to customers from their revenue. It likewise died in a House committee.

Virginia Sports Betting Thriving

Virginia sports betting launched in Jan. 2021. On it’s one-year anniversary, the Virginia Lottery announced more than $3.2 billion had been wagered in the state. 

In Jan. 2022, according to figures released last week, Virginia set a new record for monthly wagering: $485,544,417. This is 14% more than the December figures. 

With March Madness slated to begin in earnest next week, these numbers could increase again.

Although since the state bars bets on in-state collegiate games, fans of Virginia schools headed to the NCAA Tournament are not allowed to wager legally on their teams. Longwood punched its ticket to the men’s Big Dance by winning its conference tournament, Norfolk State has the same opportunity Wednesday, and Virginia Commonwealth University is a bubble team with a chance to get in.

About the Author
Mary M. Shaffrey

Mary M. Shaffrey

Mary Shaffrey is a writer and contributor for Gaming Today with a focus on legislation and political content. Mary is an award-winning journalist who co-authored "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Government." She has spent more than 20 years covering government, both at the state and federal level. As a fan of the Baltimore Orioles and the Providence College Friars she feels cursed. Luckily she is a hockey mom too so her spirits aren't totally shot.

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