Virginia’s new sports betting continues to set records, with $427 million in wagers cast in October thanks to five weekends of football, postseason baseball, and the opening of the NBA season. Sportsbetting was launched in the Commonwealth on January 21, and October’s results helped make Virginia the fastest state to exceed $2 billion, according to a PlayVirginia press release.
“It took Old Dominion a little less than nine months to reach the milestone. The previous record-holder, New Jersey, took about 10 months to reach $2 billion in wagers,” PlayVirginia said.
Late Monday, U.S District Judge Dabney Friedrich ruled the deal allows online sports betting through the Seminole Tribe violates the federal law that regulates gambling on tribal lands.
Governor DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe of Florida celebrated the approval of the historic Seminole Gaming Compact in August after a 45-day review of the agreement was completed by the U.S. Department of Interior. The agreement included online sports betting that took place off of tribal lands but was processed on tribal property.
“The final approval of this historic gaming compact is a big deal for the State of Florida,” said Governor DeSantis in the release. “This mutually-beneficial agreement will grow our economy, expand tourism and recreation and provide billions in new revenue to benefit Floridians. I again want to thank Seminole Tribe of Florida Chairman Marcellus Osceola Jr., Senate President Wilton Simpson and House Speaker Chris Sprowls for their part in getting this done for our great state.”
However, Friedrich ruled that the deal violates the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, or IGRA. The IGRA requires gambling activity take place on tribal lands. Friedrich wrote that, “over a dozen provisions in IGRA regulate gaming on ‘Indian lands,’ and none regulate gaming in another location.”
The Seminole Tribe of Florida kicked off their recently approved online sports betting platform in Florida even during legal challenges. The Tribe rolled out the new entertainment option with little press.
The launch of the new platform, which operates through an app downloadable for smart devices, allows users to place bets and wagers on professional sports teams.
Senator Joe Morrissey (D-Virginia) is calling for Attorney General Mark Herring to investigate alleged civil rights violations associated with Virginia’s skill games ban that took effect in July.
“Last session, the General Assembly banned skill games while at the same time they authorized casinos to be built, they expanded historical horse betting, they authorized online sports betting. But the people who were left out are these small business operators that represent the fabric of Virginia,” Morrissey said in a press conference Monday morning.
The newly minted gaming compact between the State of Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida is already facing a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality.
The lawsuit says the Seminole Tribe’s claim to being the sports-betting hub, which is still illegal in Florida, creates complications due to gamblers being able to place bets on Seminole servers but while not being on tribal land.
Sports betting in Virginia launched January 21, and Virginians have already wagered $865 million, according to press releases from the Virginia Lottery. In April, Virginians wagered $236.43 million according to a May 28 press release.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, states are turning to new revenue sources in an attempt to avoid raising taxes while filling a projected gaping budget deficit.
For Minnesota, that number is a $1.3 billion projected shortfall for fiscal year 2022-2023.
But top lawmakers say two revenue sources that have been popular in other states are unlikely to be signed into law this year; namely, the legalization of recreational marijuana and online sports betting.