As part of a larger, ongoing process to bring mobile sports betting to the Commonwealth, the Virginia Lottery announced last week that it is currently reviewing 25 applications for permits, according to a news release.
Since legislation that allowed for expanded gaming in the state was passed by the Virginia General Assembly last spring and became effective July 1st, the lottery has been working for months to implement mobile sports betting as well as casinos.
“The high level of interest by national and international sports betting operators validates Virginia’s efforts to strike an appropriate and responsible balance in its regulatory program for legalized sports betting,” said Kevin Hall, Virginia Lottery executive director. “We are confident that the deliberative review process we are undergoing now will result in a successful program that protects consumers, athletes, and taxpayers.”
Despite the fact that the applications have already been submitted, the lottery is not publicly releasing or acknowledging the names of the applicants.
The Virginia Star reached out to the lottery to inquire why they were not releasing the names, but did not get a response before press time.
But it is safe to assume the major players for mobile sports betting in other states – FanDuel, DraftKings, MGM, Caesars and others – are likely to have applied for entrance into the Virginia market.
Now, the lottery will take the next several months to thoroughly review each application and have background checks regarding operators’ financial stability and criminal history completed before selecting who receives a permit.
“We’ll be looking at other factors such as their history of operating with integrity and complying with regulatory frameworks in other jurisdictions, the amount of revenue that they feel they will generate for Virginia, their demonstrated ability to comply with internal controls that we set for them and any other factors that the director may deem relevant,” said Gina Smith, deputy director of gaming compliance.
Smith said the lottery contracted with the Spectrum Gaming Group to assist the lottery in conducting those background investigations and that applicant’s fingerprints are run through the Virginia state police and Federal Bureau of Investigations databases.
Hall said the agency anticipates it will offer the first operator permits for mobile sports betting by early 2021.
Under the new law, the lottery must issue at least four and no more than 12 permits. The 12-permit cap does not include applications tied to professional sports franchises who are headquartered or play within the state, however, according to the news release.
“This is a year that’s going to see the most dramatic expansion of our responsibilities since the agency launched that first scratch ticket 32-years ago,” Hall said. “We certainly appreciate the confidence of the board, the legislature and the governor in our agencies ability to build out responsible regulatory structure around sports betting and casino gaming.”
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