A new report claims that Virginia officials should give the power to act as a regulatory body to most types of gambling to a single state agency and suggests that Virginia Lottery should be appointed as the state’s primary gambling watchdog. The latest report on the issue found that splitting the regulatory oversight and enforcement duties among multiple agencies lessens the efficiency of the regulation process and opens some gaps in the rapidly expanding industry.
As previously reported by CasinoGamesPro, non-partisan policy analysts also explained that a casino would be viable if established in Petersburg, even though the General Assembly has to make a decision on the best location for a casino in the central part of Virginia, especially considering the fact that Richmond voters turned down such a proposal in 2021. The report concluded that there may be viable casino resorts in Richmond, Petersburg, or in both cities, but each option would affect the profitability of other casinos across the state and local tax revenues differently.
According to the chair of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC), Senator Janet Howell, the dispute regarding the proposed casinos in Richmond and Petersburg is set to be a major issue in the upcoming legislative season.
The two gambling-related reports were released at the beginning of the week by the state’s JLARC. The findings are likely to help Virginia lawmakers in 2023, as they are expected to find the answers to some unresolved questions regarding the state’s push to further expand its legal gambling sector.
Other State Agencies Do Not Have the Necessary Staff and Resources to Act as Gambling Regulators, Report Says
As mentioned above, the new report recommended that the local Legislature should make Virginia Lottery the primary gambling regulator in the state in order to close some gaps that appeared as a result of the existence of multiple state agencies overseeing and controlling the state’s gambling sector.
As suggested by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, the Virginia Lottery should become the primary gambling watchdog, noting the agency has already been instructing its employees on handling the four casinos and sports betting in the state. The JLARC also found that the Virginia Racing Commission, which currently oversees live horse racing, as well as the horse racing associated with Rosie’s slots enterprise, does not have enough employees to carry out its mission to regulate the sector.
Also, the aforementioned report concluded that the body that regulates various forms of charitable gambling, such as poker, bingo, and slot-like machines, also known as electronic pul-tab machines – the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services – does not have the necessary resources to do its job either.
As noted by JLARC staff members in the 85-page report on Virginia’s gambling regulation, both the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Virginia Racing Commission do not feature regulation as a primary function, not to mention that they need more employees and better technology to make sure that all gambling in the state operates with integrity.