Virginia Lottery approves sports betting rules, leaves Olympics ban intact

Virginia Lottery approves sports betting rules, leaves Olympics ban intact
(Source: Virginia Lottery)

The Virginia Lottery Board voted Tuesday to approve the state’s first-ever regulations on sports betting, making some changes in response to feedback from big gambling platforms but maintaining a ban on wagers involving the Olympic Games.

Tuesday’s move clears the way for the state to begin accepting applications from sports betting operators in mid-October ahead of an anticipated launch in early 2021. Sports betting is expected to begin through online platforms and mobile apps, though it could eventually expand to brick-and-mortar casinos planned in the state.

After the General Assembly voted to legalize sports betting earlier this year, the Lottery was tasked with creating a detailed set of regulations for how the growing industry will function in Virginia.

“Creating a regulatory structure for sports betting within the aggressive timeline that was mandated by the legislature consumed a lot of bandwidth over the summer,” Lottery Executive Director Kevin Hall said at Tuesday’s meeting. “And today’s board action will represent a really significant step forward.”

The gambling industry took issue with some elements of Virginia’s proposed rules, including the Olympics ban.

The sports betting law passed in Virginia explicitly bans wagering on college sports games involving Virginia teams and youth sports. The rule prohibiting betting on sports involving athletes under 18 created problems with Olympic events, according to Lottery officials.

READ MORE ON VIRGINIAMERCURY.COM>

The Virginia Mercury is a new, nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization covering Virginia government and policy.