Virginia House Buries Instant Racing

The Virginia House rejected a Senate substitute bill on Instant Racing (72-25) Feb. 22, leaving it to a conference committee to determine its future. It could be pulled off the shelf to plug a hole in a pending comprehensive transportation bill.

Should the conference committee pass the bill, it would require approval on the floors of both the House and Senate prior to the end of Virginia’s General Assembly session Feb. 24.

On Feb. 21, the Virginia Senate approved the substitute by a vote of 20-17, attaching it to House Bill 2626, which has support to allow temporary licensing of account wagering companies.

Many industry leaders in Virginia did not expect a favorable vote in the House, where Instant Racing legislation failed twice to get out of committee and was strongly opposed by Speaker Bill Howell.

The Instant Racing package was projected to generate $660 million in revenue, $333 million of which would be designated for transportation funding. The purse money would tabulate $26.4 million. Many legislators and Gov. Tim Kaine had doubts whether Instant Racing would generate that much revenue.

Instant Racing allows patrons to wager on historical horses races by using limited racing data to make their selections. Once the wager is made, the race’s location, participants, and conditions are made known. Under the legislation, Colonial Downs would be allowed to install and operate Instant Racing terminals at its nine off-track betting locations and live racetrack in Virginia.

Most Popular Stories