Online sports betting in Virginia is alive and well. It is also proving to be quite the success story. Currently, Virginia hosts 11 online sports betting apps despite only having introduced legal sports betting in January 2o21. However, this is just the beginning, with plenty more mobile sports betting sites expected to launch this year.
The acceptance of Virginia online sports betting has been quite an about-face. It’s worth noting though, that sports betting in Virginia is purely online, with no retail sports betting available yet – as there are no physical gambling venues or casinos yet. However, the new law does call for the construction of numerous casinos – which may well end up being home to sportsbooks later.
Legal Virginia Online sportsbooks
Here are some of the sports betting operators available in Virginia right now:
DraftKings sportsbook is one of the biggest and most successful sports betting sites in the US. It has a very innovative app, offering top features such as Cash Out. New players can claim $50 free plus up to $1,000 in bonus money.
Given FanDuel’s partnership with the Washington Football Team, this is one of the top names in Virginia online sports betting, taking the state’s first bets back in January 2021. It is now one of the market leaders offering options such as single-game parlays on a user-friendly app. New players can claim up to a $1,000 risk-free bet when signing up.
Although BetMGM doesn’t have any specific ties to the state of Virginia, it does own and operate MGM National Harbor, just southeast of Washington DC. The BetMGM site has an excellent Edit My Bet feature, which adds an extra layer to the experience. New players can qualify for a risk-free bet of up to $1,000.
BetRivers operated the sports betting app on behalf of its parent company, Rush Street Interactive. It is set to open a casino in Portsmouth in 2023. This is an experienced brand that offers an excellent loyalty program – iRush Rewards. New customers can claim a bonus of up to $250.
Caesars is due to open a location in Danville in 2023. It has an excellent sportsbook that combines its own experience with wisdom and sports betting knowledge acquired from purchasing sports betting giant, William Hill. As such it offers a great app that offers all sorts of excellent bet types. New players can claim up to $1,100 when opening a new account.
Other Online Sports Betting Sites Available in Virginia
Here are the other active sports betting apps available in Virginia:
- Bally Bet
- Golden Nugget
However, there will be more added to the list in the coming year or two.
Virginia Sports Betting Now
- 1st March 2022: Virginia sportsbooks reported that they handled a record $485.5 million in wagers for the month of January. Revenue was said to be $39.1 million – the second-highest since it launched in January 2021.
- 25th February 2022: The Senate bill to repeal the ban concerning in-state college sports bets failed to make an impact in the same House committee where its House counterpart also died.
- 15th February 2022: The bill that would have ended promotional deductions by mobile sports betting operators after 1 year died. Then, another bill that would kill the ban on in-state college sports passed the Senate, although looked set to fail in the House.
- 10th February 2022: The State Senate voted unanimously to pass SB 96. This would penalize any gambling establishment for using the statement ‘Virginia is for Bettors’ in reference to the state’s famous tourism phrase ‘Virginia is for Lovers’.
- 2nd February 2022: It was a case of kill bill when the House voted against allowing in-state college sports bets, although its companion bill in the Senate made it past its first committee.
- 1st February 2022: Virginia sportsbooks reported that they came close to a new handle record in December with $426.6 million in bets.
- 28th January 2022: Kelly Gee was appointed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin as Executive Director of the Virginia Lottery, replacing Kevin Hall.
- 19th January 2022: Numerous pieces of legislation were put forward that would change the Virginia betting landscape. One would have ended the ban on in-state college bets. Another would limit promotional deductions to once per year rather than indefinitely. The third initiative would look at whether sports betting and casino would need its own regulatory body.
- 12th January 2022: The Virginia Lottery hinted that Betway and Sports Illustrated would launch their sportsbooks around April 2022. Meanwhile, three more sports betting operators are being reviewed by the lottery commission – so we should expect to see even more apps joining the Virginia sports betting market in 2022.
- 31st December 2021: It was announced that the sports betting handle in November had a drop of just under 6% from October’s record of $402.6 million. However, revenue grew up to $48.3 million – up $18 million from the previous month.
- 15th December 2021: PointsBet was quick off the mark to launch its Virginia-based app just three weeks after being approved by the Virginia State Lottery. This took the number of Virginia sports betting apps up to 11.
- 7th December 2021: Virginia became the fastest market in the US to reach $2 billion in handle. This was, in the main, down to its record-breaking October when Virginia sports bettors wagered $427.3 in the month. This took revenue past $30 million, the second month in a row it set a new record.
- 24th November 2021: BallyBet opened up its new app, becoming the 10th sportsbook operator in the state. It waited 6th months after approval before launching its sportsbook.
- 23rd November 2021: PointsBet managed to claim one of the last 5 remaining Virginia sportsbook licenses.
How to Place a Bet in Virginia
Here is how to register and place a bet on a Virginia sportsbook.
- Choose which Virginia sports betting app you want to try.
- Download the sports betting app that you choose – these will generally have the option of apps for both iOS and Android devices.
- Register for a new account. This will require you to enter your name and address as well as the last four digits of your Social Security number to verify your identity and age as you need to be aged 21 years or older to bet in the state.
- Deposit money into your account. There are plenty of ways to do this – online banking, eWallets, prepaid cards and more.
As soon as you have registered your account, you simply find the bets that you want to place. There will be lots of bet types and markets available to you.
Virginia Sports Betting Law
When the Virginia sports betting market opened, it allowed for at least four sportsbook operators but no more than 12. The state legislators also approved up to five new land-based casinos on that bill. After the vote in November 2021, citizens of Richmond turned down the chance to open a casino, which means only four will be opening.
These casinos would also be in addition to the twelve possible sports betting licenses in Virginia.
One interesting part of the Virginia sports betting law would allow bets at any Major League Stadiums that haven’t been built in the state. In 2020, the owner of Washington D.C.’s NFL team, Daniel Snyder, lobbied Maryland and Virginia lawmakers to include in-stadium sports wagering in their bill – with the hope that the team would eventually build a new stadium in one of those states
This law would cover any major league teams in these professional sports:
It would also allow the introduction of sports wagering from any member of pro sports leagues already based in Virginia. However, the only team that has taken advantage of this so far is the Washington Football Team, partnered with FanDuel sportsbook.
Currently, it is illegal to bet on the state’s NCAA college team.
Virginia Sports Betting Revenue and Tax
Under the current law in Virginia, Virginia sportsbooks are required to pay 15% tax on any sports betting revenue – although the actual rate of tax they pay will be lower.
The reason for this is that sports betting sites can deduct their promotional expenses that are tied to getting new customers… such as welcome bonuses. This, in fact, led to a generous tax rate of only 2.2%, meaning only $340,304 was paid in tax on the state’s $5.8 million revenue in February 2022.
Virginia Sports Betting History
So, how did Virginia come to legalize sports betting? Let’s take a look at its journey up until now.
2021: The Launch of Virginia Sports Betting
The Virginia sports betting market officially launched in mid-January when FanDuel sportsbook partnered with the Washington Football Team.
By the end of March, there were nine mobile sports betting apps licensed in the state. At the start of the year, eight of those would have counted against the 12 mobile sportsbook license cap. However, that’s down to just six now, thanks to the legislation that passed, expanding the market.
That same year, HB 1847 from Del. Mark Sickles and bill SB 1245 from Sen Jeremy Pike would introduce legislation to clarify certain issues passed in 2020. Most important was this new legislation, which was signed by Gov Ralph Northam at the end of March, would separate mobile-only licenses and casino gaming licenses.
So now, there could officially be over 18 licensed mobile sports betting sites in the Virginia market – and room for even more. This would include 12 mobile licenses, 5 sportsbooks licensed through casinos plus the Washington Football Team/Fanduel partnership and any other pro sports teams that might consider launching a sportsbook.
2020: Crossing the Finish Line
After a 2019 study indicated that there was significant revenue potential for sports betting, legislators started to push forward the cause of legalizing the market in Virginia.
2 similar bills in the Senate and House quickly passed through chambers. However, it was different versions of the sports betting legislation that was passed, with the matter going to a conference committee to work out the differences.
The conference committee waited till the last minute of the legislative session to come up with a compromise bill. This new bill made it through the legislature just in time to get to Northam.
However, Northam returned the bill with a few amendments – which would include NASCAR and extra licensure in the way of background checks. These changes were approved by both the House and Senate in April 2020.
The Virginia sports betting bill featured online sports betting as well as the requirement to use official league data to settle live bets.
2019: Virginia Comes Close to Legalization
This was the year that Virginia started taking its first steps into the legalization of sports betting – one year after the Supreme Court overturned PASPA. It wasn’t long after that legislators in Virginia attempted to approve sports wagering plus other types of casino gambling.
This effort did gain some momentum – with industry insiders believing that Virginia sports betting might be the first past the post in 2019. However, progress stalled and instead, the legislature opted for a study bill to look at Virginia sports betting in a little more depth.
Most Popular Sports to Bet On in Virginia
Unsurprisingly, it is the US’s four major sports leagues as well as college football games that attract most sports bets at Virginia sportsbooks. However, right now, there are no professional sports teams that are based in Virginia right now.
Here are the most popular sports and teams currently in Virginia sports betting.
Virginia NFL Betting
NFL betting is huge in the US – and this is the same for Virginia. Betting on the NFL, especially at the time of the Super Bowl is a big revenue driver for most VA sportsbooks.
The NFC East’ Washington Football Team plays their home games nearby, in Landover, MD. Additionally, the AFC South division team, the Baltimore Ravens are also located in nearby Maryland.
In addition, their practice ground and headquarters are situated in Virginia (although Snyder may eventually build a new stadium in-state). Additionally, North Carolina isn’t a whole world away from some parts of Virginia – which is home to NFC South’s Carolina Panthers.
Virginia NBA Betting
There aren’t any NBA teams based in Virginia. However, that doesn’t mean Virginia bettors can’t enjoy any NBA betting action. Indeed, given the fast pace of the game, NBA betting is one of the favourites for in-play betting throughout the US and in Virginia.
The Charlotte Hornets and the Washington Wizards are both situated in Virginia’s neighboring states, which means that these are the two teams that attract most of Virginia’s NBA betting action right now.
Virginia MLB Betting
During the summer months, it is the bets placed on the MLB that make up the majority of sports betting revenue. There’s always a lot of exciting MLB action in summer.
Again, the state doesn’t have its own teams but nearby teams include the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Nationals. As such, the majority of Virginia MLB sports betting will put their support behind these two teams.
Virginia NHL Betting
Again, no professional NHL teams are based in the state of Virginia, so NHL bettors will need to support neighboring teams. Although NHL bets don’t make up the biggest sports betting handle nationally, it is quite popular in Virginia.
The Carolina Hurricanes and Washington Capitals are those that tend to garner the most support from Virginia sports bettors. Given that The Capitals won the Stanley Cup in 2018, they enjoy quite an impressive following.
Virginia MLS Betting
The popularity of soccer betting in Virginia is growing at an impressive rate. However, a lot of the support goes to more international teams and events such as the English Premier League, UEFA Champions League and Soccer World Cup. Fans of MLS betting in Virginia will generally support DC United as the state’s closest team.
Virginia Sports Betting FAQ
Is Virginia Sports Betting Legal?
Yes, sports betting in Virginia was officially legalized in April 2020, launching in January 2021. This was in line with the timeline set by the state. In order to bet on sports in Virginia, you need to be aged 21 years or older.
Who Regulates Sports Betting in Virginia?
The sports betting industry in Virginia is overseen and regulated by the Virginia Lottery. This is not unusual, with many states giving the responsibility of regulating sports betting to their state lottery.
The lottery has been responsible for coming up with the rules and regulations governing Virginia sports betting as well as reviewing applications from potential Virginia sports betting operators.
Where Can I Place a Bet on Sports in Virginia?
Given the legalization of online sports betting, you can bet on sports from anywhere within state borders. Simply downloading a sports betting app onto your smartphone and registering a new account makes it easy to bet from anywhere in the state that you want.
Is Mobile Sports Betting Legal in Virginia?
Yes. In fact, mobile and online sports betting is the only way you can bet on sports in Virginia. You don’t need to legally reside in Virginia to open up a new online sports betting account.
You need to be located within state borders to place your bet and the app will verify this using geolocation software.
Can Anyone Apply for a Sports Betting License in Virginia?
Yes, any sportsbook operator can officially apply for a license to operate in Virginia. The current sports betting bill requires there to be at least 4 licenses – but there is the possibility to award over 12.
It costs an operator $250,000 to get a license for a three-year term. In addition, applicants are also required to pay the fee for a background check for every key personnel in their operations – which could be as much as $50,000 each!