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Volume 26 No. 135

Gambling

Virginia State Sen. Chap Petersen said Tuesday that he will "file a bill to legalize betting on professional sports, create a state authority to regulate the activity, and direct tax revenue toward reducing tuition at Virginia community colleges," according to a front-page piece by Graham Moomaw of the RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH. Petersen said, "We've already done daily fantasy and that's widespread. This is just sort of taking it to the next level where a number of states are already going." Moomaw notes Virginia State Delegate Mark Sickles "rolled out a second sports betting proposal Tuesday," projecting it could bring the state $41M in annual tax revenue. Sickles "proposed directing that money to 'major research projects' at Virginia universities." Petersen's bill "wouldn't allow betting on college sports." Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said that he is "open to the idea of allowing casino-style gambling," and several lawmakers have said that Virginia "shouldn't leave money on the table by forcing its residents to visit other states to gamble." Petersen said that he "wouldn't be surprised if it takes a few legislative sessions for a sports gambling bill to pass," but he predicted it will be "legal in all 50 states within five years" (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 11/21).

TWO STATES, ONE GOAL? In Charlotte, Katherine Peralta reported legislative leaders in North and South Carolina have said that they "could address sports betting legislation soon." N.C. State Sen. Phil Berger said that it is "too early to say" how the state would handle legalized sports betting. Berger: "I don't know where our caucus stands, particularly the new members. I expect that the proper role for the state will be discussed as we enter the new session next year." However, Peralta noted there is already "momentum among some lawmakers." In '17, N.C. State Rep. John Hardister "co-sponsored legislation to regulate fantasy sports in North Carolina." Hardister said that the next step, legalized sports betting, is "something North Carolina needs to address." He said, "We need to study it and see what other states are doing." Peralta noted in South Carolina, there is "already enthusiasm" for sports betting. A bill introduced last year would have "amended the state's constitution to allow for placing bets on professional sports." The legislative session "ended last spring before the bill could be voted on." S.C. State Rep Todd Rutherford, who introduced the bill, said that he "absolutely will introduce" sports betting legislation again. Rutherford: "Why not allow them to do legally what they've been doing illegally but tax them on it?" (CHARLOTTEOBSERVER.com, 11/20).