Virginia State House of Delegates Votes Down Ban on Betting Slogan...Then Votes in Favor

Written by:
Thomas Somach
Published on:

RICHMOND, Va. — In a stunning reversal of fortune Tuesday, the Virginia House of Delegates, the lower chamber of the state legislature, overwhelmingly voted down a bill that would have made it illegal for gambling entities in the state he use the slogan “Virginia is for bettors“ to advertise their services.

The 67 to 32 vote against the bill was a shocker because last month the Virginia State Senate, the upper chamber of the state legislature, voted unanimously (40 to 0) to approve the same bill.
However, a spokesman for the bill’s author told Gambling 911 that the House of Delegates may vote on the bill again on Wednesday after making some changes to the legislation.
“The bill failed in the house but they immediately brought it back for reconsideration,” said Jeff Ryer, press secretary for State Senator Thomas Norment, the sponsor of the bill.
“We’ll have to see what transpires Wednesday,” he said. “It will be back on the House calendar Wednesday. Whether they vote on it again is up to the House.
“The closing days of session are frequently like this. When the House brings back a bill they just voted down, it customarily means they want to make changes to it but we’ll see.”
That appears to be what happened as the House of Delegates voted 58-35 in favor of the bill that bans the term "Virginia is for Bettors".  The website remained up with the bastardized slogan on display as of 2:45 pm ET Wednesday afternoon. 
It was not immediately clear why the bill was rejected on Tuesday and approved on Wednesday.
26 members changed their vote from No to Yes while 6 went in the opposite direction.

Norment, a Republican and a lawyer, became angry when he recently heard a gambling commercial on his car radio that declared “Virginia is for bettors.”

Virginia has legal sports betting and casino gambling.

The state’s tourism bureau has used the advertising slogan “Virginia is for lovers” since 1969, and the betting slogan is a play on words of that.

“Frankly, it annoyed me,” Norment told a State Senate gambling sub-committee. “We’ve spent a lifetime trying to market ‘Virginia is for lovers.’ I just felt it was trespassing on it.”

According to the wording of the bill, it “prohibits sports betting and casino gaming operators and their affiliates from using the name of Virginia or the Commonwealth in an advertisement in association with their products or services (and) a violation is subject to a civil penalty of up to $50,000.”

The state’s governor, Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, has not publicly stated whether he will sign or veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

But now that the Republican-controlled House of Delegates has nixed the bill that the Democrat-controlled State Senate approved, if the House doesn’t re-vote, the issue will be moot and the bill will have died on the vine.

By Tom Somach

Gambling 911 Chief Correspondent Publisher Chris Costigan contributed to this story

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