RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Lottery has given initial approval to four developers seeking to develop casinos in the commonwealth and has announced they are seeking input on proposed sports betting rules.

Kevin Hall, lottery executive director, informed the Lottery Board Wednesday in a virtual meeting that following a preliminary review the developers behind proposed casino projects in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth have the go-ahead to go in front of the voters in November for their approval.

“That initial review was required by the statute before each city could move forward to schedule a voter referendum,” Hall said.

But the state law also requires the state lottery staff to take a deeper dive into the developer’s background to essentially see if they can do what they say they will.

“Pre-certification should not be viewed as an endorsement of a specific proposal or of any city’s choice of a preferred casino partner. It also does not represent a guarantee that a casino license ultimately will be awarded,” Hall said.

The more extensive review will include a developer’s criminal history as well as financial performance investigations of designated gaming operators according to a release from the lottery. That process will not begin until after the Lottery Board approves emergency casino regulations in April 2021 and begins accepting applications.  

Chicago-based Rush Street Gaming, which proposes building an at least $300 million casino along Interstate 264 in Portsmouth also has four casinos in Pennsylvania, Illinois and New York state under the “Rivers Casino” branding.

In Norfolk, the Pamunkey Inidan Tribe, in a partnership with Gold Eagle Consulting II, LLC says the plan is for a $500-million resort next to Harbor Park.

While gambling lovers wait for election day, they can also weigh in on proposed rules for sports betting in Virginia.

The sports wagering legislation passed this spring authorizes the Virginia Lottery to issue up to 12 licenses for mobile-only sports betting platforms. The law permits legal betting on most major league and college sports but prohibits wagers on games involving teams from Virginia colleges and universities.

The proposed regulations require mobile platforms to verify customers are at least 21 years old and physically present in Virginia in order to legally place an online sports bet. 

You can voice your opinion until September by clicking here.

The first legal bets on sports wouldn’t happen until at least January 2021.

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