For those hoping for a smooth introduction of sports betting into Virginia it may be time to give up on that dream, as the state is experiencing some rather substantial push back from sports betting operators.
While most are busy living in the excitement that the NFL is back, and sports betting should happen sooner than later in the state, it seems that the “fine-tuning of the rules” hasn’t been a smooth process at all.
In fact, with the launch date scheduled for early 2021, concerns are growing that the issues over these proposed regulations could delay the start of sports betting.
Looking Back at an Eventful Year
Virginia has certainly had an eventful 2020, as this was the year that sports betting was legalized in the state thanks to legislation that was passed by the General Assembly. This bill would make it possible for four to 12 different sports betting licenses to be issued within the state.
Early projections were promising to say the least, with the state expecting to bring in an estimated $55 million dollars worth of state tax revenue each year. That injection of cash is something that would be very much appreciated, allowing the state to go ahead with a variety of projects.
For the first phase of sports betting, it will be an online-only option where people will be able to place bets on mobile apps. This provides a high level of convenience, something that is often desired within the industry.
With that said the state hasn’t closed the door on the idea of brick-and-mortar casino sports betting. In fact, plans are already in place to have it available in a number of casinos. It’s just that the emphasis at the launch will be on mobile sports betting first.
What’s the Hold Up?
This brings us to the issue at the moment. Currently the Lottery is going through a review process, taking a look at all of the sports betting regulations that have been proposed. The goal is to figure out the specifics so that the roll-out is smooth and people will know what to expect when it goes live.
However, this process has now prompted a number of sports betting operators to voice concerns and issues with some of the proposals.
In particular, the consumer protection measures. All of the rules and regulations of sports betting will be laid out in what’s called the Sports Bettors Bill of Rights. This is meant to make the industry transparent and ensure that bettors know what to expect.
As part of these rules, it will be up to the various sports betting platforms to actually supply vital information to bettors that would allow them to make a more informed bet.
What does that mean?
It means they would be provided with such information as the odds of winning a particular bet and a thorough description of how odds are actually calculated. Other information that would need to be provided would include the payout amount and the handle.
From the sports betting operator’s point of view, this is unique to Virginia and is information they don’t need to supply in any other state. This real-time information can be very time-consuming and difficult to figure out, making it tough for the sportsbooks.
“Sports betting apps are simply not built to provide and display this type of information. As such, this requirement would force a re-engineering of the products, to create a demonstrably worse user experience, and all to provide information which is immaterial to the calculation of the odds and/or payout a bettor will receive.”
FanDuel also stated that some of the odds and information that the rules are demanding simply cannot be obtained.
In fact, sports betting operators have gone on to point out a number of issues with the regulations being proposed including problems around advertising and even betting on the Olympics.
As it stands right now, the Virginia Lottery Board has a meeting scheduled for September 15th in order to vote on the newly proposed rules, so everyone needs to hang tight until that point.
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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