The Virginia Lottery Board on Wednesday announced it has approved permanent casino gaming regulations, building upon previously approved initial regulations by the board on Feb. 3.
The proposed regulations will now go to Gov. Ralph Northam (D) for approval. A 60-day public comment period will follow, leading up to final approval by the Lottery Board.
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“The Lottery’s Gaming Compliance Department and Office of General Counsel have been diligently working to set up the regulatory and licensing framework to ensure casino gaming in Virginia is secure and transparent,” Virginia Lottery Executive Director Kevin Hall said in a news release. “In this role, we see the Lottery as the public’s watchdog, confirming that the law and regulations are followed, and the integrity of casino gambling is protected.”
Currently there are four land-based casinos approved in Virginia cities: Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth. Each was approved by voters in those cities in November 2020.
A fifth proposed casino in Richmond is on a different timetable and has not yet been approved but is expected to be on the November ballot this year. If Richmond voters approve it, casino developer Urban One is targeting October 2024 for the opening of the ONE Casino. It had been scheduled to open in late 2023.
The application period for casino operators opened in April 2021. The Virginia Lottery has been conducting a comprehensive review of each, which includes criminal history and financial review as materials are submitted.
The Virginia General Assembly assigned regulatory oversight of expanded gaming in the Commonwealth to the Virginia Lottery in 2020. Expanded gaming is comprised of both land-based casinos and VA online sports betting. VA online casinos have not been legalized.
Sports Betting Operator Update
The Virginia Lottery Board gave an update Wednesday, saying that there are 10 approved permit holders to provide sports betting in the Commonwealth with seven currently accepting wagers.
Mobile sports wagering launched in Virginia in late January.
The approved permit holders that have launched are Betfair Interactive (FanDuel with Washington Football Team), Crown Virginia Gaming (DraftKings Sportsbook), BetMGM Sportrsbook, Rivers Portsmouth Gaming (Rivers Casino Portsmouth), Caesars Virginia, WSI US, LLC and Unibet.
Golden Nugget Online Gaming, Bally’s Corp., Penn Sports Interactive have been approved but are not live in the state.
The last online sportsbook to go live in Virginia was Unibet on April 28.
The Virginia Lottery approved Virginia Unibet on April 21.