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25 companies apply to offer sports betting in Virginia; up to 12 licenses will be awarded
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25 companies apply to offer sports betting in Virginia; up to 12 licenses will be awarded

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Randy Hallman at Dover International Speedway

Gamblers place their sporting-event bets at the Dover (Del.) Downs Casino. 

Virginians will have no shortage of options when mobile betting on sports goes live early next year. Under rules approved by the General Assembly this year, the Virginia Lottery can award up to 12 permits to companies who wish to enter the market.

During the initial application period, which ended on Oct. 31, there were 25 companies that applied.

The lottery will now sort through those applications and choose the companies who will be licensed. Under Virginia’s structure the state itself will not offer sports betting, but will sanction private companies, taking both a flat fee at the beginning and a percentage of revenues.

In a statement on Thursday the lottery said it would not reveal which companies applied, but interest has been widespread since Virginia announced its intent.

Some of the companies whose lawyers and representatives have been involved in early discussions are industry powerhouses William Hill, MGM, Penn National (Barstool), Hard Rock, theScore and FanDuel.

The winning companies will be able to offer sports betting by mobile phone for users who are inside the commonwealth’s borders.

“The high level of interest by national and international sports betting operators validates Virginia’s efforts to strike an appropriate and responsible balance in its regulatory program for legalized sports betting,” wrote Virginia Lottery Executive Director Kevin Hall. “We are confident that the deliberative review process we are undergoing now will result in a successful program that protects consumers, athletes, and taxpayers.”

Earlier this year, the lottery estimated that the first licenses would be granted as early as January, 2021.

mphillips@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6546

Twitter: @michaelpRTD

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