Recent news regarding online poker and gambling in general in the US, may have come from the state of West Virginia, but let’s not forget about the Old Dominion state. In Virginia, a strong gambling expansion bill has cleared the Senate, the House and, as of last Friday, has received the backing of Governor Ralph Northam.
With the bill being signed into law, it could bring online poker, sports betting, casinos and more to the state of Virginia, marking a monumental change for the area.
The Virginia Legislature was pre-filed in December last year by Senator L. Louise Lucas and became known as SB 1126. This started out as a simple expansion on the land-based gaming bill already in existence, which was something that lawmakers within Virginia have considered at various points previously.
Throughout the three-month run to this point, the casino bill went through a series of revisions and updates, bringing it to the status that it exists in now – something completely different to past efforts of getting such a bill signed into law.
One of the very last additions to the new bill saw the words “online gaming” added to what is defined as casino gaming. Now, it stands as a word alongside casino games like poker, slot machines, roulette wheels and blackjack in Virginian law.
Don’t Count Your Chickens Before They’ve Hatched
That being said, the gaming bill itself is fairly ambiguous, so it’s important to not read too much into it. Potentially, it won’t allow for any of the aforementioned gambling options to come to fruition, and legislation requires various facilitating actions before an expansion of current gambling rules actually occurs.
As it stands, the bill itself won’t become an official law until several things happen, including a review of best practices that is then submitted to the state’s Lottery Board and rules being created for casino and online gambling.
To add to this, one of the more interesting sections of the bill is that it appears to provide the Virginia Lottery Board with the power to authorise different gaming options. While the section detailing provisions for casinos is quite detailed, it only makes mention of both online gambling and sports betting once within.
Therefore, it’s difficult to understand how both these gaming options would take place in Virginia, at least as far as taxation, responsible gaming and more are concerned.
One thing that will most likely happen though, is that poker will be considered to be a part of online casinos, rather than an entity within itself. This means that if casino and online gambling laws are brought into effect, online poker stands a greater chance of becoming a reality than sports betting.
It basically depends upon what route the board decides to take. Should they tackle all issues at once alongside casinos, ignore one for the other(s) or shelve the possibility of online gambling and/or sports betting in a bid to prioritise casino options? The likelihood is that more will be brought to light soon.