Virginia’s mobile sports betting market added another operator Tuesday, as bet365 went live in the commonwealth. The operator is an official sports betting partner of the NFL’s Washington Commanders.
Virginia customers have access to more than a dozen mobile sportsbooks, with major operators BetMGM, BetRivers, Caesars Sportsbook, FanDuel, DraftKings, and PointsBet among them. A Virginia Lottery spokesperson said there aren’t any additional sports betting licenses currently open for application. Betfred is expected to launch its mobile app in Virginia this year.
Virginia makes the fourth U.S. state that bet365 has entered as a major European sportsbook. The operator is also active in Colorado, New Jersey, and Ohio, with plans to enter the Pennsylvania market.
“Fresh off the heels of a successful launch in Ohio, we are thrilled to launch the world’s favorite online sports betting brand in Virginia,” a bet365 spokesperson said in a press release. “With a growing community of sports betting fans, the launch into Virginia marks a milestone for bet365 as we continue our U.S. expansion.”
Interestingly, bet365 planned to enter the Massachusetts market, but its partnership with Raynham Park was recently called off. A Raynham Park spokesperson told Sports Handle “bet365 believed the Massachusetts draft regulations had several material impacts on the viability of the market.” Bet365 declined comment on the specifics of its decision. Massachusetts launched retail betting Tuesday.
FanDuel leads market share
The Virginia Lottery released a gaming report last week that included market share figures from January 2022 to November 2022. FanDuel led the way by a noteworthy margin, with the operator accounting for just over 41% of sports betting handle during that time period.
DraftKings came in at No. 2, with a 23% share. BetMGM wasn’t far behind, checking in at 18.3%. BetMGM was aggressively using promotions during that time period, as it had the most promotional handle of any operator in Virginia from January-November 2022.
Caesars Sportsbook was fourth among operators in market share, checking in at 7.9%. Only Barstool Sportsbook (3.9%), PointsBet (2.4%), and BetRivers (1.2%) also accounted for more than 1% of market share. WynnBET came close at about 0.9%.
It will be a challenge for bet365 to break through in a competitive market, especially with major brands like FanDuel and DraftKings entrenched in Virginia, although as a new entrant it will be able to deduct promotional expenses from its taxable revenue for its first year of operation. In a recent legislative change, Virginia limited how long operators can deduct promotional expenses from taxable revenue.
Nathan Click, the national spokesperson for the Sports Betting Alliance, a national coalition of sports betting operators dedicated to building legal, regulated, and onshore sports betting markets in the U.S., recently spoke against Virginia’s change in an op-ed published by the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The SBA hopes the rule will be altered again during the 2023 legislative session.