Virginia has received 25 applications during a two-week period for what is a total of 12 available sports betting licenses. The regulator will now examine each of these to determine which would contribute the most to the state’s burgeoning sports betting industry.
Sports Betting in Virginia One Step Closer to Launch
Virginia has seen an inundation of sports betting applications during the two-week period allocated to gauging interest from businesses looking to setup betting operations in the state. As a result there have been 25 applications submitted with only 12 licenses sent in between October 15 and October 31.
This is good news for voters in Bristol, Danville, Portsmouth, and Norfolk, who have clasped to the idea of building the state’s first casino to counterweigh further economic crisis. In fact, this past Election showed overwhelming support for gambling in the Old Dominion with voters backing casinos 2-to-1 at the ballot boxes.
Yet, sports betting was approved and passed into law earlier this year, giving the Virginia Lottery, which has been tasked with regulating the segment, all the time to prepare. Having 25 licenses on its hands now, however, would require from the watchdog to meticulously examine each candidacy and shortlist the 12 best establishments.
Approval Criteria for Sports Betting Operators
The regulator must now shortlist at least four and up to 12 betting brands choosing from a number of criteria. Commenting on these developments, Virginia Lottery Executive Director Kevin Hall said that the state was determined to push ahead with an optimal variant that meets the high local demand for national and international sports contests. Hall further had this to add:
“We are confident that the deliberative review process we are undergoing now will result in a successful program that protects consumers, athletes, and taxpayers.”
-Virginia Lottery Executive Director Kevin Hall
While the names of the potential operators bidding for an entry are still kept under wraps, the criteria according to which the Lottery will choose candidates are clear. The regulator will look into candidates’ past track-record with running sports betting operations in and outside the United States.
It will weigh advantages such as expected tax revenue for Virginia as well as gauge an applicant’s ability to attract capital from minority investors, and not least, the projected number of jobs that an operator would be able to introduce to the state.
Once the shortlisted candidates are invited to proceed with their bidding process, they would have to agree to a number of criteria, including a flat $50,000 fee for a license as well as a mandatory 15% levy on sports betting gross revenue.
This last detail is rather steep as most other states usually charge net proceedings and leave gross revenue alone.
A Number of Candidates Lining Up
Even without any names announced, the United States plays host to a number of established sports betting agencies who would definitely seek an entry into the market. From Barstool to BetMGM, FanDuel and DraftKings, there are a number of entities who would be interested in securing a share of the market. WynnBET has already suggested it would be breaking ground into Virginia following a tie-up with NASCAR.
Virginia was the second state to legalize sports betting in 2020 and the state is expected to generate an estimated $55 million a year from tax revenue. Officially, the industry is readying to launch early in 2021.