JLARC Recommends Centralizing Gambling Regulation at the Virginia Lottery

Virginia’s gambling regulation should be centralized under the Virginia Lottery, according to a Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) report, which found that regulation is split between three different agencies, and two of them are understaffed. In addition to the lottery which regulates casinos and sports betting, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) regulates charitable gaming, and the Virginia Racing Commission (VRC) regulates live and historical horse racing (HHR).

“Gaming regulation is not the primary function of VRC and VDACS. Both agencies need more staff and better technology to ensure that all gaming under their purview operates with integrity,” the report summary states.

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Virginia’s First Casino Earns $3.7 Million in First Week of Operating Temporary Site

The Hard Rock Bristol Casino’s temporary location earned $3.7 million in adjusted gross receipts (AGR) in its first few days, with a total of over $37.5 million played from July 5 through July 14. The casino had soft openings before opening to the public on Friday, July 8.

Virginia Lottery Deputy Director of Gaming Compliance Gina Smith highlighted the numbers and said the casino was crowded in its first days.

“I will tell you that Saturday, you could not even walk on the floor,” Smith told the Virginia Lottery Board on July 20.

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Hard Rock Bristol Casino Announces Plan to Open Temporary Casino in July

A temporary, full-service casino in Bristol will open July 8 while construction continues on the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Bristol, the developer announced Wednesday.

Chief Operating Officer of Hard Rock International Jon Lucas said in a press release, “As Virginia’s first casino, ‘Bristol Casino – Future Home of Hard Rock’ will be a wonderful addition to the Hard Rock global portfolio of dining, hotel and entertainment properties. I am pleased by the significant progress that Allie Evangelista and her team are making towards a July 8 Grand Opening celebration for Bristol.”

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Virginia on Track to be Fastest State to Reach $1 Billion in Sports Betting

Sports Book Betting

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.

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Portsmouth City Council Approves Casino Rezoning, But Race Is on to Compete with Pending Norfolk Casino

The Portsmouth City Council approved rezoning and use permits for the Rivers Casino project in several five-to-two votes on Tuesday. Vice Mayor DeAndre Barnes and Councilman Mark  Whitaker opposed the changes. The council will have to confirm the votes in a follow-up meeting in June, and licensing from the Virginia Lottery is still pending according to WAVY.com. But pressure is on, since Norfolk has its own new casino project, the Headwaters Resort and Casino, expected to open in 2023. The Portsmouth casino is expected to open sometime in 2022 or 2023.

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Online Sales and Big Jackpots Put Virginia Lottery on Path to Record-Breaking Year

The Virginia Lottery’s new online offerings are driving an increase in revenue for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, which runs until the end of June. By February, online sales hit $436 million, about 21 percent of overall sales for that same period, according to lottery spokesperson John Hagerty.

“Fiscal Year 2021, which ends on June 30, is on track to break sales and profit records,” a Tuesday press release from the lottery states.

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Bristol, Virginia Takes Next Step Towards a Hard Rock Casino

The Bristol City Council unanimously approved naming HR Bristol LLC the city’s preferred gambling operator. The Friday city council decision confirms what voters asked for in a November 2020 referendum – a Hard Rock Casino to be built in Bristol. The decision wasn’t a a surprise, and the council didn’t bother discussing the motion before voting.

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Mobile Sports Betting Update: Virginia Lottery Reviewing 25 Applications for Permits

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 allow 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 implemented mobile sports betting as well as casinos. 

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COVID Lockdowns a Boon for Virginia Lottery

The Virginia Lottery recorded $2.15 billion in sales during 2020, slightly lower than the 2019 figure, despite facing statewide shut downs in the spring and the growing economic downturn brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Kevin Hall, executive director of the Virginia Lottery, gave a presentation Tuesday to members of the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee, providing updates on the current trend and forecast as well as the implementation of expanded gaming options coming to the state.

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