What Did the New Betting Law Change?

The November 2019 legislative session in Virginia was a memorable one, as it was a very active one. The commonwealth’s General Assembly passed a raft of bills, the most significant of which are summarized below.

Increased Tethering Margins At Resorts And Casinos

The most significant change for poker players and sports bettors in Virginia is the increase in the amount of tethering that can take place at casinos and resorts. Before the law was changed, there was only one type of gambling location in Virginia that allowed tethered gambling – the Yorktown Heights Racetrack and Park. But now there are two: the Colonial Downs race track and sportsbook, which welcomes sports betting fans, and the newly established Hopper Island Resort and Casino in Sussex County.

The new law allows for up to a 3x increase in stake size for both poker and sports betting – meaning that you can now wager $2 or 25 cents and win $6 or $12. Before the change, the maximum bet was $1 or 12.5 cents – so a $6/$2 wager used to be the maximum you could place. Now it’s a $12/$6 wager. This change is significant, as it means that low rollers can play at bigger stakes, creating more exciting opportunities for them to win. It also means that high rollers have more money to play with, as the house edge at the higher limits is lower. It’s the perfect marriage of high and low limit play, which is also perfect for attracting more players and creating more liquidity on the betting exchanges. What’s more, this change enables the use of a unit of measurement that is simpler to calculate: the line.

New York, New Jersey Football, And Bettors’ Ban

While the Commonwealth of Virginia has been a bit of a sports betting pioneer, it pales in comparison to New York and New Jersey, which have completely legalized sports betting. The largest of the three was the first state to truly embrace online wagering, and it has continued to lead the way in most areas of sports wagering. The most recent change that New York put in place was an absolute ban on sports betting in high school and college football games, effective immediately. However, there’s legislation pending in the state’s General Assembly that would exempt teams located in Suffolk County and students with NY public school student IDs from the ban.

Similarly, New Jersey passed a law in 2018 that prohibited the use of single-game and prop bets in all sports. It was a complete ban, as the law did not allow for grady punts, coin flips, or any other types of props. The new law also made it illegal for bookmakers to advertise on any platform frequented by students, including social media sites. The impact of these bills on sports betting in NY and NJ is effectively the same: anywhere that these bills are in effect, individuals cannot legally engage in single-game and prop bets. What’s more, teams can no longer use public address systems at their games, effectively limiting the types of bets that they can make (and thus the different strategies that can be employed) in the name of secrecy.

Poker Rooms Open To All Resorts And Casinos

Another significant change in Virginia that affects poker players is the ability of Resorts and Casinos to serve as a sportsbook. Up until now, only one type of gambling location in Virginia could accommodate both poker and sports: the Yorktown Heights Racetrack and Park. But now that distinction belongs to the Resorts and Casinos – even though they are still considered to be race tracks. What this means is that poker players can now play in any Resorts or Casinos location, regardless of whether or not it’s a race track. In addition, poker rooms are now open to the public, meaning that there’s no need for race track memberships any longer. Simply show up, play some poker, and leave when you’re done.

This change will surely make a difference in terms of attracting more players to poker in Virginia. It’s already evident that interest in the game is growing, as evidenced by the number of entrants into the state’s championship poker tournament – the Virginia Cup – which saw a 33% increase in entries last year compared to 2018. It’s also likely that more people will enter the poker room, as it opens up a world of sports betting opportunities for them. What’s more, by making their poker rooms available to the public, Resorts and Casinos eliminate one of the major barriers that previously prevented people from playing the game – namely privacy concerns. For those that still prefer to play in private, they can always do so at their own leisure, as hotels are bound by law to keep the games confidential.

New Jersey And Virginia Join The Party

New Jersey and Virginia are effectively the sports betting capitals of the United States, so it’s no surprise that both states would become the first to embrace online wagering and the various strategies that it entails. However, the two states went about their legislative process in completely different ways. While New Jersey passed a law in 2018 that enabled the industry, it took several months for the state to fully implement the change. During that time, there were multiple hearings and debates about the merits of online gambling, with critics raising privacy and security concerns. But in the end, New Jersey voters clearly indicated that they wanted to see sports betting online – and they gave the state’s General Assembly the go-ahead to move forward with the change. In contrast, Virginia was one of the first states to truly embrace online gambling, as they were one of the first to fully embrace mobile wagering (with all of the associated opportunities that entails). The General Assembly in Richmond held numerous hearings and voted in favor of liberalizing wagering laws in early 2019, which enabled them to implement the new rules and regulations in February of that year. What’s more, the mobile versions of the games are completely compatible with any device, meaning that sports fanatics can now wager from the palms of their hands. What this means is that fans can now rejoice in the fact that their personal smartphones and tablets are the ultimate gaming devices, as they can now download relevant apps and place bets with minimal effort.

Poker And Sports Betting At The Perfect Marriage

In a state with some of the most avid sports fans in the country and a large number of professional sports teams, the perfect marriage of poker and sports betting is certainly not a new phenomenon. But it’s one that has been made significantly easier thanks to modern technology and the associated increase in mobile gaming options. What’s more, the simplicity in calculating odds and winnings makes it much easier for casual and recreational players to get into the swing of things. This is especially beneficial for those that lack the time to sit down and study the various betting strategies that are available to them – which is why Nevada is often considered the mecca of online gambling.

It goes without saying that both Nevada and New Jersey have effectively legalized and regulated sports betting and established an environment where it’s accepted and enjoyed by the public. And, although not yet implemented, New York could become the third state to join the fray.