At the beginning of March, casino, and sports betting company Wynn Resorts was granted a license for the operation of online sports betting in Virginia.
The company, which is responsible for some of the world’s largest and most prestigious casinos is delighted to be able to offer their online sports betting service – Wynn BET – to Virginians.
Their facilities will be available on PC & laptop as well as on a purpose-built mobile app that has been designed by some of the brightest minds in mobile gambling. NASCAR, NFL, NBA, MLB, and a whole host of other sports will be covered by the company giving Virginians the opportunity to bet on almost every sporting event imaginable.
In this article, we will explore what the decision to grant Wynn Resorts an online betting license in Virginia says about the shifting attitudes to online gambling in America. In addition to that, we will analyze how a thriving online gambling industry could positively benefit Virginia.
WynnBET Represents a Trend
Traditionally the United States has had a complex relationship with the gambling industry. On the one hand, the country is seen by many as the spiritual home of gambling with locations like Las Vegas and Atlantic City attracting tens of thousands of foreign gambling fans each year.
On the other hand, though, certain parts of this country are well-known for their tough anti-gambling stance. On a Federal level, the stance against sports betting has been particularly stubborn for the better part of 30 years.
However, in Virginia and in the country in general attitudes are beginning to change, which is reflected by the sheer range of sports betting opportunities in the Old Dominion. That’s all because of a pivotal decision taken by the Supreme Court in 2018….
In 1992 the Federal government took the decision to outlaw sports betting in every state apart from Nevada. This law was known as ‘The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act’ or ‘PASPA’ for short.
For decades this act behaved as a locked door, obstructing individual States from taking the decision to legalize sports betting. In New Jersey, though pressure mounted to overturn PASPA before in 2011 a non-binding referendum found that the people of the state were in favor of overturning PASPA.
7 years later, the Supreme Court eventually paved the way for individual states to legalize sports betting when they struck down PASPA. Since then a number of states have legalized sports betting, including Virginia.
At the time of writing, sports betting is legal in almost half of American States with each passing month bringing news of legalization plans in more and more states. How though, has sports betting legislation impacted Virginia?
Virginians Love Betting
It isn’t something you usually associate with this state, but the evidence shows that Virginians absolutely love making bets. Since the region legalized sports betting in July of last year, tens of millions of dollars in revenues have been raked in by gambling companies.
This has translated into a huge boost in taxation coffers with projections predicting that online sports betting will yield around $61.8 million a year in tax.
The latest industry research into the gambling trade does show, however, that there are subtle differences in the gambling trade here in Virginia than in the rest of the country.
In States such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Illinois mobile wagering accounts for nearly 90% of all gambling revenues. However, here in Virginia once social distancing restrictions are lifted, land-based venues are expected to claw back a large part of the market share.
Recently Norfolk, Danvile, Bristol and Portsmouth all gave the go-ahead to casino building proposals, highlighting Virginians’ love of bricks and mortar gambling.
There is another aspect of Virginia’s sports betting industry that makes it unique from a host of other American States. As a relative latecomer to the party, the Old Dominion has been able to take note of what has and has not worked in other states.
As a result, it was in a good position to make the most of the sports betting industry when it finally took the decision to legalize it last year. Unlike neighboring Tennessee, which launched an online-only market, all forms of sports betting in Virginia are legal.
That means that Virginians can head down to a brick-and-mortar sports betting venue to place a bet on the Redskins, or choose from a whole host of reputable suppliers.
This has helped to foster healthy competition in the industry with suppliers such as FanDuel, DraftKings, BetRivers, BetMGM and William Hill all challenging WynnBET for market share dominance.
In terms of the local economy, this has not only benefited the public purse but also helped to reduce the unemployment rate.
The Virginian sports betting market seems to be in a great place right now, with a good balance of competition and availability. Going forward this should lead to a wider gambling industry that isn’t unfairly represented by either land-based venues or online operators.
Much of that has to do with how lawmakers and state officials have carefully planned the rollout of sports betting, but it also has a lot to do with Virginians gambling attitudes.
Economically, we should start to see the benefits of sports betting and gambling in general increase over the next couple of years. We can look forward to the creation of more jobs and a huge boost to the public purse, which is needed now more than ever in light of the devastating economic impacts of the past 12 months.