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Code of Virginia
Title 58.1. Taxation
Chapter 40. Virginia Lottery Law; Sports Betting
11/26/2020

§ 58.1-4032. Application for a sports betting permit; penalty.

A. An applicant for a sports betting permit shall:

1. Submit an application to the Director, on forms prescribed by the Director, containing the information prescribed in subsection B; and

2. Pay to the Department a nonrefundable fee of $50,000 for each principal at the time of filing to defray the costs associated with the background investigations conducted by the Department. If the reasonable costs of the investigation exceed the application fee, the applicant shall pay the additional amount to the Department. The Board may establish regulations calculating the reasonable costs to the Department in performing its functions under this article and allocating such costs to the applicants for licensure at the time of filing.

B. An application for a sports betting permit shall include the following information:

1. The applicant's background in sports betting;

2. The applicant's experience in wagering activities in other jurisdictions, including the applicant's history and reputation of integrity and compliance;

3. The applicant's proposed internal controls, including controls to ensure that no prohibited or voluntarily excluded person will be able to participate in sports betting;

4. The applicant's history of working to prevent compulsive gambling, including training programs for its employees;

5. If applicable, any supporting documentation necessary to establish eligibility for substantial and preferred consideration pursuant to the provisions of this section;

6. The applicant's proposed procedures to detect and report suspicious or illegal betting activity; and

7. Any other information the Director deems necessary.

C. The Department shall conduct a background investigation on the applicant. The background investigation shall include a credit history check, a tax record check, and a criminal history records check.

D. 1. The Director shall not issue any permit pursuant to this article until the Board has established a consumer protection program and published a consumer protection bill of rights pursuant to the provisions of subdivision A 14 of § 58.1-4007.

2. a. The Director shall issue no fewer than four permits pursuant to this section; however, if an insufficient number of applicants apply for the Director to satisfy such minimum, this provision shall not be interpreted to direct the Director to issue a permit to an unqualified applicant. A permit shall not count toward this minimum if it (i) is issued pursuant to subdivision 4 or 5 to a major league sports franchise or to the operator of a facility; (ii) is issued pursuant to subdivision 6 to an applicant that operates or intends to operate a casino gaming establishment; or (iii) is revoked, expires, or otherwise becomes not effective.

b. The Director shall issue no more than 12 permits pursuant to this section. A permit shall not count toward this maximum if it (i) is issued pursuant to subdivision 4 or 5 to a major league sports franchise or to the operator of a facility or (ii) is revoked, expires, or otherwise becomes not effective.

3. In issuing permits to operate sports betting platforms, the Director shall consider the following factors:

a. The contents of the applicant's application as required by subsection B;

b. The extent to which the applicant demonstrates past experience, financial viability, compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and success with sports betting operations in other states;

c. The extent to which the applicant will be able to meet the duties of a permit holder, as specified in § 58.1-4034;

d. Whether the applicant has demonstrated to the Department that it has made serious, good-faith efforts to solicit and interview a reasonable number of investors that are minority individuals, as defined in § 2.2-1604;

e. The amount of adjusted gross revenue and associated tax revenue that an applicant is expected to generate;

f. The effect of issuing an additional permit on the amount of gross revenue and associated tax revenue generated by all existing permit holders, considered in the aggregate; and

g. Any other factor the Director considers relevant.

4. In issuing permits to operate sports betting platforms prior to July 1, 2025, the Director shall give substantial and preferred consideration to any applicant that is a major league sports franchise headquartered in the Commonwealth that remitted personal state income tax withholdings based on taxable wages in the Commonwealth in excess of $200 million for the 2019 taxable year. Any permit holder granted a permit pursuant to this subdivision shall receive substantial and preferred consideration of its first, second, and third applications for renewal pursuant to the provisions of § 58.1-4033; however, such permit holder shall not receive substantial and preferred consideration of its fourth and subsequent applications for renewal. Any permit granted pursuant to this subdivision shall expire if the permit holder ceases to maintain its headquarters in the Commonwealth.

5. In issuing permits to operate sports betting platforms prior to July 1, 2025, the Director shall give substantial and preferred consideration to any applicant that is a major league sports franchise that plays five or more regular season games per year at a facility in the Commonwealth or that is the operator of a facility in the Commonwealth where a major league sports franchise plays five or more regular season games per year; however, the Director shall give such substantial and preferred consideration only if the applicant (i) is headquartered in the Commonwealth, (ii) has an annualized payroll for taxable wages in the Commonwealth that is in excess of $10 million over the 90-day period prior to the application date, and (iii) the total number of individuals working at the facility in the Commonwealth where the major league sports franchise plays five or more regular season games is in excess of 100.

6. If casino gaming is authorized under the laws of the Commonwealth, then in issuing permits to operate sports betting platforms, the Director shall give substantial and preferred consideration to any applicant that (i) has made or intends to make a capital investment of at least $250 million in a casino gaming establishment, including the value of the real property upon which such establishment is located and all furnishings, fixtures, and other improvements; (ii) has had its name submitted as a preferred casino gaming operator to the Department by an eligible host city; and (iii) has been certified by the Department to proceed to a local referendum on whether casino gaming will be allowed in the locality in which the applicant intends to operate a casino gaming establishment.

7. In a manner as may be required by Board regulation, any entity that applies pursuant to subdivision D 4, D 5, or D 6 may demonstrate compliance with the requirements of an application, the duties of a permit holder, and any other provision of this article through the use of a partner, subcontractor, or other affiliate of the applicant.

E. The Director shall make a determination on an initial application for a sports betting permit within 90 days of receipt. The Director's action shall be final unless appealed in accordance with § 58.1-4007.

F. The following shall be grounds for denial of a permit or renewal of a permit:

1. The Director reasonably believes the applicant will be unable to satisfy the duties of a permit holder as described in subsection A of § 58.1-4034;

2. The Director reasonably believes that the applicant or its directors lack good character, honesty, or integrity;

3. The Director reasonably believes that the applicant's prior activities, criminal record, reputation, or associations are likely to (i) pose a threat to the public interest, (ii) impede the regulation of sports betting, or (iii) promote unfair or illegal activities in the conduct of sports betting;

4. The applicant or its directors knowingly make a false statement of material fact or deliberately fail to disclose information requested by the Director;

5. The applicant or its directors knowingly fail to comply with the provisions of this article or any requirements of the Director;

6. The applicant or its directors were convicted of a felony, a crime of moral turpitude, or any criminal offense involving dishonesty or breach of trust within the 10 years prior to the submission date of the permit application;

7. The applicant's license, registration, or permit to conduct a sports betting operation issued by any other jurisdiction has been suspended or revoked;

8. The applicant defaults in payment of any obligation or debt due to the Commonwealth; or

9. The applicant's application is incomplete.

G. The Director shall have the discretion to waive any of the grounds for denial of a permit or renewal of a permit if he determines that denial would limit the number of applicants or permit holders in a manner contrary to the best interests of the Commonwealth.

H. Prior to issuance of a permit, each permit holder shall either (i) be bonded by a surety company entitled to do business in the Commonwealth in such amount and penalty as may be prescribed by the regulations of the Board or (ii) provide other surety, letter of credit, or reserve as may be satisfactory to the Director. Such surety shall be prescribed by Board regulations and shall not exceed a reasonable amount.

I. Any person who knowingly and willfully falsifies, conceals, or misrepresents a material fact or knowingly and willfully makes a false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation in any application pursuant to this article is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

J. In addition to the fee required pursuant to subdivision A 2, any applicant to which the Department issues a permit shall pay a nonrefundable fee of $250,000 to the Department prior to the issuance of such permit.

2020, cc. 1218, 1256.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.