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Virginia Sports Betting Online

It took more than one try from Virginia legislators to get the ball rolling, but online sports betting is now officially live! Virginia was technically the second state in the country to legalize sports betting in 2020, but the allowance of online betting launched in January 2021, with FanDuel Sportsbook being granted the first license. While there are plans to launch a handful of casinos in Virginia, sports betting will only be available online to start. Virginia Lottery spokesman John Hagerty said the awarding of more permits is imminent and will launch before Super Bowl LV.

There is a lot to learn about this new betting landscape. Luckily, we have created a definitive guide with everything you need to know about betting in Virginia.

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Sportsbooks and Notable Casinos in Virginia

FanDuel Online-only
DraftKings Online-only
BetMGM Online-only  
BetRivers Online-only, but their parent company, Rush Street Gaming, manages Rivers Casino Portsmouth and will surely use BetRivers as their official sportsbook once the casino opens.  

Here’s a more thorough breakdown of the various sportsbooks operating in Virginia:

FanDuel: The country’s most popular sportsbook was the first — and only — awarded a license to operate in Virginia thanks to its partnership with the Washington Football Team. This move is also seen as a sign that a future stadium for the team could be built in the state. FanDuel is offered as an online-only sportsbook in the Commonwealth.

DraftKings Sportsbook: One of the country’s leading sportsbooks joined FanDuel as the second sportsbook to be offered in Virginia just in time for Super Bowl LV. With their customer-first approach, DK hopes to be the sportsbook of choice for Virginians who enjoy having skin in the game.

BetMGM: BetMGM Sportsbook got approval to operate online sports betting in Virginia, according to the Virginia Lottery, the state’s regulator. They become the third online operator to be authorized within the first week of the state’s launch of online sports betting.

BetRivers: Rush Street Gaming announced that BetRivers online sportsbook joined in the early share of the VA online betting market. BetRivers will eventually have an advantage over some of the other online-only sportsbooks as they are the first sportsbook in the state guaranteed to be tied to a physical location once Rivers Casino Portsmouth opens its doors. BetRivers offers a wide selection of live streaming content so that bettors may watch games while they wager. Rush Street received the prestigious 2020 Global Gaming Awards Digital Operator of the Year award. Their leadership position in the markets in which they operate, including the two largest states with legalized online gaming, Pennsylvania and Illinois, where they were #1 in 2020, is a testament to the strength of the brand and betting platform.

Additional sportsbooks who have expressed interest in Virginia

  • Barstool Sportsbook: Reportedly applied or has interest per Legal Sports Report.
  • Handle 19: Reportedly applied or has interest per Legal Sports Report.
  • Hard Rock: Expected to tab Scientific Games to handle the sports betting at their new Bristol casino.
  • PointsBet: Mentioned its Virginia application during an October 2020 earnings call.
  • theScore Bet: Reportedly applied or has interest per Legal Sports Report.
  • US Bookmaking: Reportedly applied or has interest per Legal Sports Report.
  • William Hill: Thanks to their rumored acquisition by Caesars Entertainment, William Hill will likely be the sportsbook operator for the Danville casino location.
  • WynnBet: Confirmed its application when announcing it would become the official online sportsbook of two NASCAR tracks in the state if approved for a license.

Virginia Sports Betting History

Gambling had long been prohibited in Virginia, except for the lottery, charitable gaming, and wagering on horse races. Virginians currently wager over $1 billion annually on these gaming forms, generating about $600 million in revenue for various purposes.

Charitable gaming in the form of Bingo or raffles is permitted in the Commonwealth to raise funds to support qualified charitable organizations. The Virginia General Assembly first authorized charitable organizations in 1973. Before that, gambling was completely prohibited in the Commonwealth. The Virginia Lottery was established in 1987 to generate funds for Virginia’s K–12 public education system.

Horse race wagering is permitted in the Commonwealth to raise funds to support Virginia’s native horse industry. It was authorized in statute in 1988.

In 2018, historical horse racing (HHR) wagering was authorized in the Commonwealth. HHR machines are slotlike machines that allow players to wager, with the wagers’ outcomes being dictated by actual results from previously held horse races (for which identifying information is withheld from the player). In the first six months since the introduction of HHR terminals in the Commonwealth, wagering on the HHR terminals totaled over $714 million, generating over $57 million in net gaming revenue.

We are seeing one of the most drastic transformations in the country when it comes the betting in Virginia. The state is going from having no sports betting (aside from horse racing) and gaming to approving five physical casinos and allowing online sports betting within the state in 2020, with the first online-only sportsbook launching in January of 2021.

There will only be up to 12 online-only licenses awarded for the state, and the Virginia Lottery will decide who will receive them. The Virginia Lottery reported that 25 applications had been received. Still, they have otherwise been unnecessarily tight-lipped in releasing any other details such as who those sportsbooks are and when more may launch. We know that five licenses will go to the Virginia casinos in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Richmond, but new legislation was issued so that these licenses would not count against the 12 online-only operators as originally proposed.

In these five locations, casinos are projected to annually generate about $970 million in net gaming revenue and approximately $260 million in gaming tax revenue for the state. (For comparison, the Virginia Lottery generates over $600 million annually after prizes are paid out.)

In Danville, 69% of voters responded in favor of constructing a $400 million facility that will include a 300-room hotel rated at four stars, a 35,000-square-foot conference center, and a 2,500-seat entertainment venue. Danville agreed with Caesars Entertainment to build and operate the casino with William Hill Sportsbook the obvious choice for a partner.

Bristol voters approved a casino with a 71% majority. Hard Rock International agreed to build a $400 million facility in the vacant Bristol Mall location near the Tennessee border. Their plans include 350 hotel rooms, a 2,500-seat indoor performance area, and an outdoor venue with seating for 20,000. Supporters say the casino will bring 4 million annual visitors to the region and generate $16 million to $21 million in annual tax revenue. Hard Rock said it would hire 2,000 employees. Hard Rock recently selected Scientific Games to handle its sports betting operations in Iowa and New Jersey.

The Portsmouth location, which will be built at an estimated cost of $300 million, will be managed by BetRivers parent, Rush Street Gaming. The venue will feature slot machines, table games, and poker. Organizers say they will hire 1,300 employees.

The Pamunkey Indian Tribe will run the Norfolk facility, priced at $500 million. The tribe spent more than $1 million in advertising to convince voters to approve the proposal but faced opposition from a group called Informed Norfolk, which received $25,000 in donations and accused the tribe of making empty promises. The Pamunkey have not released their plans thus far for sports betting. They are also the partner for the Richmond casino location.

Virginia Sports Betting at a Glance

Here’s what you need to know about Virginia’s current sports betting landscape:

  • Bettors must be at least 21 years of age.
  • The state lottery oversees VA sports betting.
  • There will be up to 12 licenses provided to sportsbooks in Virginia.
  • Major league sports franchises that build a new stadium in Virginia also can apply for a license.
  • Virginia is projected to be a $400 million market.
  • Operators in Virginia will pay 15% in taxes on sports betting revenue.
  • Casinos in the five locations are projected to annually generate about $970 million in net-gaming revenue and approximately $260 million in gaming-tax revenue for the state. (For comparison, the Virginia Lottery generates over $600 million annually after prizes are paid out.)
  • A fully developed sports wagering industry in Virginia could generate up to $55 million in annual gaming tax revenue.
  • Online casino gaming could generate about $84 million each year.
  • Bettors cannot wager on college teams from the state.
  • Bettors cannot wager on the Olympics, though legislation has been filed to amend this.
  • Bettors cannot wager on the outcome of subjective trophy awards such as MLB Cy Young, MVP, Heisman Trophy, etc.

Virginia Sports Betting FAQs

What kinds of sports wagers can I make at Virginia casinos?
Virginia sportsbooks will offer a wide range of bet types, including (but not limited to):

  • Single-game bets
  • Moneyline
  • Teaser bets
  • Parlays
  • Over-Under
  • Pools
  • Exchange Wagering
  • In-Game Wagering
  • In-Play Bets
  • Proposition Bets
  • Straight Bets

What sports can I wager on at Virginia sportsbooks?

  • National Football League (NFL)
  • Canadian League (CFL)
  • NCAA College Football (NCAAF)
  • Major League Baseball (MLB)
  • Nippon Professional Baseball
  • The KBO League
  • NCAA Baseball
  • National Basketball League (NBA)
  • NCAA Basketball
  • Woman’s National Basketball League (WNBA)
  • FIBA regulated county vs. country allowable qualifies/games/tournaments
  • Euro Leagues/Euro Cup
  • World Championships (Basketball)
  • World Boxing Association (WBA)
  • World Boxing Organization (WBO)
  • International Boxing Federation (IBF)
  • World Boxing Council (WBC)
  • PGA including global tours, PGA Tour Champions, International Events (e.g., Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup, Solheim Cup), European Tour
  • LPGA
  • Korn Ferry Tour
  • National Hockey League
  • International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF)
  • Swedish Hockey league
  • Kontinental Hockey League
  • SM-Liiga
  • NCAA Hockey
  • NCAA Lacrosse
  • Premier Lacrosse League
  • Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)
  • Bellator MMA
  • One Championship
  • Professional Fighters League
  • NASCAR, including series
  • IndyCar
  • Formula 1
  • Moto America
  • US Major League Soccer
  • FIFA Sanctioned Events
  • AFC Champions League (Men/Women)
  • African Cup of Nations (Men/Women)
  • CAF Champions League (Men/Women)
  • CONCACAF Champions League (Men/Women)
  • Copa Libertadores (CONMEBOL) (Men/Women)
  • Copa Sudamericana (CONMEBOL) (Men/Women)
  • FIFA Sanctioned Events
  • OFC Champions League
  • UEFA – Europa League
  • UEFA – Nations League
  • UEFA – Super Cup
  • UEFA Champions League
  • US – National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL)
  • US – North American Soccer League (NASL)
  • US – USL Championship Division
  • US – USL League 1
  • US Open Cup
  • England – Championship League
  • England – League One
  • England – League Two
  • Woman’s Tennis Association Tour and WTA 125K Series
  • International Tennis Federation
  • NCAA Tennis
  • Association of Tennis Professionals: ATP Tour, Challenger Series
  • Grand Slam Events

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