Virginia Lawmakers Look To Open In-State Colleges To Sports Betting, Change Tax Structure For Operators

Virginia legalized sports betting last year, but that hasn’t stopped lawmakers from trying to tweak the program.

First came word that Senate Minority Leader Tommy Norment wants to bar the word “Virginia” from appearing in sports betting or casino advertisements.

Now two more pieces of legislation have been filed that would 1) prohibit sportsbooks from excluding bonuses and promotions from taxable revenue and 2) allow for bets on in-state collegiate athletics.

Both bills, filed in the House of Delegates, face an unknown future.

To Tax Or Not To Tax Bonus Money

Del. Mark Sickles, a Democrat, introduced House Bill 1103 on Wednesday. The legislation, which has not yet been sent to a committee, disallows sportsbooks to exclude bonuses they offer to bettors from revenue.

It also mandates greater reporting, eliminating the option of operators to carry over negative losses from month to month when calculating their taxable income.

The bill “[p]rohibits sports betting operators from excluding bonuses and promotions from taxable revenue after the first 12 months of wagering activity. The bill also eliminates the ability of sports betting permit holders, when calculating taxable revenue, to carry over losses on a monthly basis,” according to a summary of the legislation posted on Virginia’s Legislative Information System.

HB 1103 would tax revenue from sports wagers at 15%. 

Open Door To In-State Collegiate Bets

Every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, football fans gather in Blacksburg or Charlottesville to watch the Virginia Tech Hokies take on the Virginia Cavaliers.  It is part of one of the biggest weekends of the year for sports fans in the state

Now it could be even bigger, if House Bill 1127 becomes law. 

As things stand now, Virginians can wager on college athletics, as long as an in-state program is not involved. HB 1127, sponsored by Del. Schuyler T. VanValkenburg, a Democrat, would change that. Player props would still not be allowed.

Allows betting, with the exception of proposition betting, on Virginia college sports. Under current law, betting other than proposition betting is allowed on all college sports except Virginia college sports,” the summary posted on LIS reads. 

There is companion legislation in the Senate, Senate Bill 576, sponsored by state Sen. T. Montgomery “Monty” Mason, a Democrat.  It has been referred to the Senate Committee on General Laws and Technology.

The Virginia General Assembly began its 2022 session on Wednesday.  Gov-elect Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, is set to be sworn in Saturday. The bulk of the work on any of the legislation filed will begin next week and continue through March.

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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