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The Virginia Lottery Board approved a permanent casino ruling on Wednesday, while Massachusetts House read out a sports betting bill for the third time on Thursday. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Slowly and steadily
UPDATE 07/22 6:30 p.m. ET – The Massachusetts House of Representatives passed H.3977 by 156 votes to 3.
The east coast of the United States appears to be on the verge of gambling expansion again as both Virginia and Massachusetts got closer to enacting new regulations.
Virginia Sportsbook has rolled it in since it was launched in January this year, but there are still no casinos in the state, despite four out of five possible cities having them approved. However, this week the Virginia Lottery Board gave the green light to the permanent casino rules and allowed them to move to executive power for review.
Up in Massachusetts, the House of Representatives read out a bill legalizing and regulating sports betting for the third and final time.
First stone laid for casinos in Virginia
In February, the Virginia Lottery Board approved emergency casino regulations to expedite the state’s gambling expansion plans. The Board of Directors met on Wednesday and thumbs up on the proposed permanent arrangements. You now run the executive branch of the state’s government, including Governor Ralph Northam.
There is still a long way to go before the regulations are ready
There is still a long way to go before the rules are finalized, with one more trip to the lottery committee and more executive reviews. A new governor will be in office by the time it is finalized, probably in May 2022.
In November 2020, voters in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth approved the construction of a casino in each of their cities. Richmond residents have the chance to vote for an Urban One casino plan this November, which was approved by the city council in June.
There are no major changes to the casino rules; it is mainly formulations, clarifications, definitions and just a few fine-tuning. Lottery Assistant General Counsel Bob Fontaine told the Bristol Herald Courier, “Some of these things honestly reflect that we have more time to do a more complete job and address concerns raised during the process. I think it’s just a clearer document. “
Sports betting in Massachusetts is coming into focus
In Massachusetts, the House of Representatives held a third reading Thursday on H.3977, a law that would legalize and regulate sports betting. The House Means and Ways Committee approved the bill and only brought it to the House of Representatives Chamber last weekend.
Members of the House of Representatives voted in favor of the bill, arguing that citizens are already betting on sports but are either crossing state lines to do so elsewhere, using illegal apps from offshore companies, or placing bets with a bookmaker. Legalizing the activity, they say, will provide consumer protection as well as keep the money in the state.
The bill sets a sports betting tax rate of 12.5% for retail sports betting and 15% for online books. The reason it makes the difference is to offset the added overhead of stationary venues and help them attract more people to their locations, which can generate more money from other gambling, entertainment and dining activities.
The state’s three casinos would each receive three online sports betting skins, while horse racing tracks and off-track betting venues would each receive one skin.