Virginia lawmaker seeks to overturn in-state college betting ban

JMU Dukies statue
Image: Shutterstock / Steve Heap

James Madison University posted an exceptional football season and the basketball team is off to a hot start with a 14-1 record. However, bettors in Virginia cannot wager on the school’s action.

When Virginia legalized sports betting in 2020, it did so with a prohibition on wagering on schools within Virginia. This legislative session, a lawmaker is trying to change that.

SB124 would remove betting ban on Virginia college teams

Sen. Schuyler VanValkenburg has introduced SB124, which would amend the current sports betting law to allow for wagering on in-state teams. It would extend its prohibition on individual college props to Virginia teams as well.

Virginia is not the only state to limit wagering on in-state teams. Illinois, New Jersey and Massachusetts also impose certain limits on when bettors can wager on in-state teams. Unlike these states though, Virginia is a state that is not home to any major professional sports team and most fandom is rooted in college teams.

Van Valkenburg is new to the Virginia Senate. The Democrat previously served in the House of Delegates from 2017-2023.

The bill has been referred to the Committee on General Laws and Technology, of which VanValkenburg is a member.

VanValkenburg also seeking to remove Richmond as casino city

VanValkenburg has also introduced another piece of gaming legislation that would remove Richmond as a potential host city for a land-based casino in the state. In November 2023, voters rejected the idea of a Richmond casino for a second time. After voters narrowly voted down the measure in 2021 by a 51%-49% margin, last fall the measure lost in a 60-40 split.