Lawmakers continue debate

Virginia senate delays decision on college sports betting until 2025 session

Reading time 1:27 min

Lawmakers in the Virginia Senate have opted to postpone a decision on a bill that would permit sports betting on Virginia colleges until the 2025 legislative session, following extensive discussions and deliberations.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Schuyler VanValkenburg (D-16) on January 4th, aimed to amend existing legislation to allow sports betting on Virginia colleges, a practice currently prohibited despite the overall legal status of sports gambling in the state since January 2021.

While the proposal garnered initial support, having passed the General Laws and Technology Committee on January 24th, it faced a setback when the Finance and Appropriations Committee unanimously voted on February 6th to defer the decision to 2025.

This is not the first time such a bill has been brought before the legislature. A similar attempt during the 2022 session was rejected by the House General Laws Committee in a bipartisan vote of 18 to 4, highlighting the ongoing debate surrounding the issue.

Sen. VanValkenburg reiterated the need for the legislation, emphasizing the prevalence of sports betting on Virginia teams despite its illegal status within the state.

“I think you see a lot of people who are still gambling on Virginia sports...all of our surrounding states can gamble on Virginia universities,” VanValkenburg stated during a meeting for the Gaming Subcommittee on January 23rd. “I think it’s good to bring it into the fold, I think it’s good for public safety, I think it’s the right thing to do for regulating the market.”

However, concerns have been raised regarding the potential implications of legalizing sports betting on college sports, particularly among younger demographics. Some opponents worry that the legislation could pave the way for further betting on youth sports, raising questions about the extent to which such practices should be permitted.

“My concern is just, how far does this go?” remarked Todd Gathje with The Family Foundation during a public comment session. “Because if we take this away then all of a sudden, with high school sports now on TV, are we going to start allowing that to be the battle line?”

In response, Sen. VanValkenburg assured that gambling on high school sports remains prohibited throughout the U.S., emphasizing the distinction between collegiate and youth athletics.

Leave your comment
Subscribe to our newsletter
Enter your email to receive the latest news
By entering your email address, you agree to Yogonet's Condiciones de uso and Privacy Policies. You understand Yogonet may use your address to send updates and marketing emails. Use the Unsubscribe link in those emails to opt out at any time.