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How Virginia Could Benefit from the Legalization of Sports Betting and Online Casinos

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Virginia is still one of the states that has nothing on gambling just yet. This state is still holding out when it comes to having tribal and state-sanctioned casinos. Even if many lawmakers are already making efforts to get Virginia to do something about this, resistance is still strong.

Virginia has a wide variety of people in the political spectrum. This means that they still have plenty of people who are still against gambling because it is something that their morals or their religious beliefs see as unacceptable.

Technically, Virginia doesn't regulate or allow any local online or land-based casinos to offer services outside and inside its territory. However, there's really no state law that prohibits its locals to place bets on USA online casino sites or offshore-based casinos.

Even if the locals can still place their bets outside Virginia, there are still people out there who are pushing to get the legislators to change their minds regarding this matter.

Recently, a 200-page report was released by the state auditors of Virginia. This report shows how the legalization of sports betting, online gambling, and casinos in the state could bring in a lot of tax money.

The report says that legalizing those three gambling sectors in Virginia could help bring in around $367 million to the state in annual tax revenues. Surely, this report and the amount it discloses can help convince the legislators of this state to approve a bill regarding gambling.

Still, despite the release of this report, members of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission of the JLARC commented that a major expansion of gambling in Virginia would still not have a huge impact on its local economy.

They still don't see how a gambling expansion can create jobs for the locals. This is even if local land-based casinos will be allowed to open and operate in the state.

There have already been proposals submitted about developing casino complexes in the state and about US online casinos operating locally in Virginia in the past years. In particular, just last summer, two businessmen from Bristol have proposed to build a casino complex in the former site of Bristol Mall.

This proposal then resulted in a bill about the authorization of casino and other gambling and betting activities in the state to be reviewed. After all, the proposal was worth around 1 million USD and it was something that caught the state's attention.

The bill that was passed in spring tasked the JLARC to conduct a review of the impact of gambling expansion on the state. The results of this review are found in the report that was recently released by the state's auditors.

In this report, if the state authorizes five casinos through Senate Bill 1126 will be operating all at the same time, it could generate about $260 million in state gaming tax revenue annually. This could mean that the state will have $200 million to $300 million in capital investments. 27 percent of this would be coming from gaming tax.

The five casinos that will be licensed are known to be authorized to be built in Danville, Bristol, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Richmond. Each casino will then be able to employ at least 1000 people. The jobs available are both high-skill and low-skill.

What others are also looking at when it comes to allowing the expansion of the gambling industry in the state is how the already existing ways to gamble legally in Virginia will be affected. The horse racing industry, in particular, will be negatively affected by this. In fact, the released report predicts that its revenue might decrease to a whopping 45 percent.

The results or this report, in particular, will be discussed in the next legislative session. However, despite how big the amount is on this report, many just can't predict or see if the state will be swayed and actually start to make a move regarding this matter.

Many are still hopeful about this. After all, there are already states that have recently passed sports betting alone and have gained millions of revenues from it. This is what happened after the Supreme Court of the United State has stricken down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act or PASPA of 1992.

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Ajeet has a Bachelors in Journalism and Mass Communication. He has extensive experience in community management, social media consultancy, child safety, and crisis management.

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