When Will Virginia Launch Online Sports Betting?
Virginia is the latest of many states to hop on the sports betting bandwagon. The state legalized sports betting on July 1, 2020, after a series of amendments to the bills that would eventually make sports betting legal. The first online sports betting site announced its launch on January 21, 2021.
On September 15, 2020, the Virginia Lottery set its final regulations. One month later, the licensing process opened. All applicants were subject to a 90-day review period. In short, this meant that Virginia online sports betting would launch in January before the Super Bowl according to Kevin Hall the Executive Director of the Virginia Lottery.
VirginiaCasinos.com estimates that Virginia sports betting will produce $412 million in handle for the state with $61.8 million in annual tax revenue.
Currently, some major operators are expected to make a splash in the Virginia market as soon as licenses are granted. Here are the main operators we expect to launch as soon as possible in Virginia:
Of course, there will be others. But this is a likely slate for Virginia’s first group of sports betting providers.
Old Dominion is slightly unique among sports betting markets. The state’s legislation allows for online-only sportsbooks (much like Tennessee) alongside those tethered to a land-based casino. But the added factor that makes Virginia unique is an amendment requested by Governor Ralph Northam. The amendment, which made it into the final legislation, allows for NASCAR tracks to apply for sports betting licenses.
All-in-all, Virginia, is gearing up to become a competitive sports betting landscape.
Virginia’s Legal Gambling History
Most of Virginia’s major gambling-related legislative developments have happened in the very recent past. Even in the grand scheme of things, Virginia’s legal lottery and horse race betting options are fairly new.
In 1987, Virginia legalized the lottery, with all profits going to education initiatives. One year later, the Lottery sold its first tickets. In 1989, the state created the Virginia Racing Commission to manage pari-mutuel wagers on races held out of state, mainly because there were no tracks in Virginia.
That changed in 1997 with the opening of Colonial Downs. It’s still the only race track in Virginia.
Fast forward to 2018. The Supreme Court declared PASPA unconstitutional, putting sports betting legislation in the hands of individual states. Virginia took notice and started to welcome new forms of gambling. LEgislation to authorize sports betting passed in July 2020. But the state wasn’t content to just add sports betting into the mix. Five Virginia communities voted in a referendum to allow for the construction of five casinos, one in each of the following towns:
These will mark the very first casinos in Virginia’s history, perhaps signaling a new era of gambling for the state.
Virginia Gambling Timeline
- January 21, 2021: FanDuel Virginia becomes the first sportsbook app to announce its launch in Virginia
- November 2020: Voters approve casinos in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Richmond via referendum
- October 2020: Licensing application process for sports betting operators begins
- September 2020: Virginia Lottery finalizes regulatory framework for mobile sports betting
- July 2020: Sports betting legalized in Virginia
- 2018: SCOTUS declares PASPA unconstitutional, leaving sports betting legislation in the hands of individual states
- 1997: Colonial Downs, Virginia’s first race track, opens in New Kent
- 1989: Virginia creates the Virginia Racing Commission to regulate pari-mutuel betting
- 1988: The Virginia Lottery sells its first tickets
- 1987: Virginia legalizes lottery
Major Players In Virginia
With no land-based casinos (yet) and online-friendly legislation, Virginia is expected to be a heavy hitter in the sports betting industry. Big operators are sure to flock to the state to offer online sports betting. FanDuel launched its app on January 21, 2021. We anticipate a handful of others to launch in the days and weeks following.
Visit: FanDuel Virginia
FanDuel is often one of the first apps to launch in a state. It’s no surprise that they were the first to launch in Virginia, almost simultaneously with their launch in Michigan. FanDuel is most known for its reputation in the Daily Fantasy Sports market but is gaining ground in legal online sports betting by operating in almost a dozen states.
New FanDuel users in Virginia can claim a $1,000 risk-free bet bonus on sign up. It’s a great way to get started with sports betting without risking too much upfront.
A DraftKings Virginia launch is about the closest to a sure thing you can get. The operator already has a Daily Fantasy Sports presence in Virginia, and it will very likely be one of the first to launch sports betting in the state. Besides, its seems where FanDuel goes so does DraftKings.
DraftKings’ quest for leadership in each market is fueled by early launches wherever possible, and Virginia will be no different. DraftKings players in the state will most likely be treated to a deposit match bonus of 20% up to $1,000.
BetRivers has seen success in a number of states near Virginia, namely Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We expect BetRivers to continue its expansion into new sports betting markets with a Virginia launch.
Rush Street Gaming, the parent company of Rush Street Interactive and the BetRivers brand, was approved as the casino partner for Virginia’s new Portsmouth casino. With that casino greenlit, the BetRivers brand will have a strong foothold in Virginia, making it a top contender to lead the sports betting market and the casino gaming market in the state.
Longtime sports betting operator William Hill is also expected to move into the Virginia market. William Hill has a rich history in the gambling industry, and its years of experience will bring a powerful sports betting operator to the state alongside other top-tier providers.
Virginia Gambling FAQ
Yes. But there’s one catch–Virginia doesn’t have any casinos yet. Voters in five Virginia communities recently approved casinos in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Richmond. This vote occurred in November 2020, so it coils still be at least a few years before Virginia casinos actually open.
Currently, Virginia’s minimum gambling age is 18. However, this is because the state only offers pari-mutuel wagering, bingo, Daily Fantasy Sports, and lottery games.
Sports betting and casino gaming will have a minimum age requirement of 21. Anyone 21 or above will be able to play at Virginia’s casinos or on the state’s sports betting sites.
Yes, but not every form of online gambling is available yet. Virginia legalized sports betting in July, and the Virginia lottery finalized regulations in September. Now it’s a waiting game as the state reviews license applications. The first sports betting app launched on January 21, 2021.
Sports betting, horse race betting, and online lottery remain the only internet gaming options for Virginians. Online casino gaming is not legal in the state.
Yes. The Virginia Lottery began accepting license applications on October 15, 2020. The first app launched on January 21, 2021 when FanDuel Virginia hit the ground running. We expect many major operators–DraftKings, William Hill, BetRivers, and more–to offer sportsbooks in the state.
Yes. The Virginia Lottery was created in 1987 and sold its first ticket in 1988. The Virginia Lottery benefits the state’s education programs.
The Virginia lottery is also the governing body for sports betting. The organization creates rules and regulations that govern sportsbooks in the state.
Yes. You can purchase tickets and play lottery games online in Virginia. The Virginia Lottery has a helpful FAQ page that provides more detail on this option.
Yes. Once they open, Virginia’s casinos will be subject to strict regulations that protect you as a player. You’ll be able to play all your favorite games in a safe and secure manner.
Yes. All gambling winnings are taxed by the IRS. The federal tax rate on gambling winnings is 25%.
In many cases, a casino or sportsbook will provide you with tax paperwork if your winnings exceed a certain threshold. If you win below the threshold, you still need to pay taxes on those winnings, but the paperwork is your responsibility.
Yes, especially if you play frequently. Rewards programs offer a lot of great incentives for casino players. Free meals, room discounts, free play on slots, special concert/event pre-sales…the list could go on. Frequent players can gain a lot from a casino loyalty program, so it’s worth signing up even if you expect to visit once every few months. Points add up over time!
Virginia has identified preferred casino partners for all five cities that authorized casinos to be built. Here are the identified preferred partners:
- Bristol: Hard Rock International
- Danville: Caesars Entertainment
- Portsmouth: Rush Street Gaming (Rivers)
- Richmond: Pamunkey Indian Tribe
- Norfolk: Pamunkey Indian Tribe