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Virginia Lawmaker Introduces Bill To Legalize College Sports Betting

Written By J.R. Duren | Updated:
Virginia Tech Running Back P.J. Prioleau In NCAA Football Game

Virginia legislators have introduced a bill to legalize betting on Virginia college sports.

The bill, VA SB124 submitted by Sen. Schuyler VanValkenburg, would allow gambling on Virginia college teams except for prop bets.

How would Virginia’s laws change because of the new bill?

VanValkenburg’s bill would simply eliminate language in the current sports betting laws that prohibit betting on college teams based in Virginia. Seven sections in Virginia’s sports betting law mention college sports.

The key section that the bill would change lists three betting prohibitions:

  • Youth sports bets
  • College sports prop bets
  • Bets on Virginia college sports teams

The submitted bill would essentially delete the third bullet, retaining the first two prohibitions.

If the bill succeeds, it would likely be a big boost to the state’s tax revenue, as betting would increase, thereby generating more revenue.

Virginia is home to several major colleges with considerable followings in basketball and football. The big names are the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech, but other colleges with notable sports programs include:

  • George Mason University: Made a magical run to the Final Four in 2006
  • Virginia Commonwealth University: A regular in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, making the Final Four in 2011
  • Old Dominion University: Made it to the men’s baseball  NCAA in 2021
  • James Madison University: Women’s softball made a run to the Women’s College World Series in 2021, upsetting Oklahoma in the first round before falling to the Sooners in the semifinals.

What Virginia sports betting would look like with in-state teams?

It’s hard to say how much of a boost betting on in-state college teams would provide Virginia’s sports betting revenue numbers.

Because bettors in the state can already place bets on college contests, we’re not likely to see a big bump in revenue. That being said, legalizing betting on Virginia teams gives fans of schools big and small a chance to do what they’ve probably wanted to do for a long time.

Should the bill pass, it’s possible we’ll see sportsbooks such as DraftKings and FanDuel capitalize on that loyalty by offering promos focused on Virginia college programs like Virginia and Virginia Tech.

That being said, VA law prohibits sportsbooks from marketing to minors and those under 21 years of age. So don’t expect to see on-campus advertising and promos.

What’s next for Virginia’s college sports betting bill?

Right now, VA SB124 is sitting with a Senate gaming committee. If the committee approves the bill, it may go to another committee or might head to the Senate for a vote.

If the Senate approves the bill, it will go to the House for a vote. And, if it passes, it will go to Gov. Glenn Youngkin‘s desk for a signature.

Photo by Vera Nieuwenhuis / AP Photo
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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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