Virginia To Legalise Online Gambling

Virginia To Legalise Online Gambling ( Click to Enlarge )

The US state of Virginia has announced that is is going to legalise online gambling and sports betting in a move that appears to run counter to US Federal Government efforts to tighten up laws on online gaming. However, online gaming fans will have to wait just a little bit longer before they can fire up their machines and connect to their favourite online casino. The state has announced that it does not intend to issue any licences for online casino activity until 2020.

Virginia Lottery Board

Regulation of online gambling in Virginia will be carried out by the Virginia Lottery Board and it will be up to the board to decide which casinos it licences and how many in total are allowed to operate from the state.

This creates a potential conflict of interest for the board as it may be keen to avoid anything that it sees as potential competition for its current popular lottery games. However, there is also every chance that the significant amounts of revenue the board will gain from the online casinos will be enough to change its mind.

US Online Gambling Landscape

Virginia’s decision makes it more likely that any Federal Government attempt to reduce or control online gambling activity will face court challenges from the states.

Recently, the Department of Justice implied that it may look to use its control over inter-state communications as a backdoor that would allow it to regulate (and in all chances severely limit) online gambling in the country.

If a significant number of states stand to lose a significant amount of tax revenue from this type of regulation, then challenges are much more likely. Every state that decides to liberalise its online gaming laws in search of this kind of revenue is another headache for the Department of Justice.

Once the one year waiting period for Virginia gamblers is over, it remains to be seen whether a huge number of casinos will burst onto the scene or whether there will be a mere trickle. Regardless of what happens, it will certainly be a market to watch.