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HB 896 Virginia Lottery; powers and duties of Board, sports betting, etc.

Introduced by: Mark D. Sickles | all patrons    ...    notes | add to my profiles


Sports betting; Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund; penalties. Directs the Virginia Lottery (the Lottery) to regulate sports betting. The bill prohibits the Lottery from issuing any permits to conduct sports betting until it has developed and published a consumer protection bill of rights.

Before administering a sports betting operation, an entity is required to apply for a three-year permit and pay a nonrefundable application fee of $250,000 as well as an additional $250,000 fee if its application is approved. Permit holders must apply for renewal of a permit every three years, which includes a nonrefundable renewal fee of $200,000. The Director of the Virginia Lottery may issue from four to 12 permits at one time and is directed to issue a number of permits that will maximize tax revenue collected pursuant to the bill. In issuing permits, the Director is required to give preferred consideration to applicants that are (i) certain major league sports franchises and (ii) certain casino operators.

The bill prohibits betting on Virginia college sports and youth sports and prohibits proposition bets on all college sports. The bill prohibits betting by Lottery employees, permit holders and certain related persons, athletes and coaches with respect to events in their league, and persons under age 21. The penalty for engaging in prohibited betting is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

The bill prohibits betting on the biometric data of an athlete without his consent and includes provisions for the Lottery to investigate prohibited conduct, such as attempting to influence an athlete or the outcome of an athletic event.

The bill directs the Lottery to establish a voluntary exclusion program, which allows individuals to request that the Lottery exclude them from engaging in various kinds of betting activity.

The bill allows the governing body of a sports league to request that the Lottery (a) limit or prohibit people from betting on events of the league that it governs and (b) restrict the information sources used to resolve bets that are placed after a sports event has begun.

The bill imposes a 15 percent tax on a permit holder's adjusted gross revenue, defined in the bill. The bill authorizes permit holders to carry over and deduct net losses for up to 12 months.

The bill creates the Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund, administered by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. The Fund is established to provide counseling to compulsive gamblers, implement problem gambling treatment and prevention programs, and provide grants to organizations that assist problem gamblers. The Fund is funded by 2.5 percent of the revenue generated from sports betting, with the remaining 97.5 percent accruing to the general fund.

This bill is identical to SB 384.