Virginia is for lovers… of straight bets or 8-team multi-sport parlays. In March of 2020, the Virginia General Assembly and Senate passed SB 384 and HB 896 to bring legal sports betting to the state. A few weeks later, Gov. Ralph Northam sent amended versions of the bills back to lawmakers who approved them in a reconvened session, officially legalizing sports betting in Virginia.
Virginia sports betting rollout
It took about eight months for Virginia to turn its new law into a live, thriving sports betting market. The rules and regulations were posted in the Virginia Register and the lottery opened its application window in October 2020. Initially an impressive 25 sportsbook operators submitted applications during the two-week window fron Oct. 15-31, 2020.
Just a few months later we saw FanDuel online sportsbook start taking bets on Jan. 21, 2021. This historic launch was a first for legalized online gambling in the state, and was quickly followed with more operators going live in the Commonwealth: DraftKings launched on Sunday Jan. 24, then BetMGM and BetRivers on Wednesday, Jan. 27. 15 online sportsbooks now call Virginia home.
Online and mobile sportsbook apps in Virginia
Virginia now offers one of the most robust selections of online sports betting apps of any state in the country. Current active online sports betting apps in Virginia include: Bally Bet, Barstool Sportsbook, Bet365, Betfred, BetMGM, BetRivers, Betway, DraftKings, Caesars, FanDuel, Golden Nugget, Hard Rock, PointsBet, SI Sportsbook, Unibet, and WynnBET.
|Online Sportsbook||Launch Date|
|Bet365||January 31, 2023|
|Bally Bet||November 24, 2021|
|Barstool Sportsbook||August 10, 2021|
|Betfred||February 1, 2023|
|BetMGM||January 27, 2021|
|BetRivers||January 27, 2021|
|Betway Sportsbook||May 18, 2022|
|DraftKings Sportsbook||January 24, 2021|
|Caesars Sportsbook||February 3, 2021|
|FanDuel Sportsbook||January 21, 2021|
|Golden Nugget||October 13, 2021|
|Hard Rock Sportsbook||March 31, 2022|
|PointsBet||December 15, 2021|
|SI Sportsbook||May 9, 2022|
|Unibet||April 28, 2021|
|WynnBET||March 11, 2021|
Virginia’s licensing fees and tax rate (15% on gross gaming revenue) are in the “medium” range, comparing with rates nationwide, and the population is on the high end (12th overall at roughly 8.5 million), so it is a very desirable market to enter.
How many more online sportsbooks in VA?
The Virginia online sports betting market is busy, but still has the potential to keep growing. According to the Lottery, there is still room for more online operators to enter the state. The text of the law reads that the state will have a minimum of four mobile books and a maximum of 12. But those numbers aren’t as firm as they appear. By the Lottery’s count, Virginia would have a minimum of 11 online/mobile apps (neither the five proposed casinos nor the two current pro teams with footholds in Virginia count to the minimum) and up to 14 (the two pro teams don’t count against the cap).
Why? According to the text in the law and the FAQs section on the Virginia Lottery’s new sports betting site, licenses awarded to pro teams/venues or casinos would NOT count toward the minimum, and licenses awarded to pro teams/venues would NOT count toward the maximum.
Translation? Under any circumstance, there will be at least four stand-alone mobile platforms in addition to those tethered to casinos operating in the state, or to the Washington Football Team and DC United. Both teams have official facilities in the state making them eligible. But there could be as many as 14 mobile licenses (the stated maximum of 12 plus two pro teams/venues) in Virginia, which would create the open, competitive marketplace that benefits bettors. In addition, WynnBET has partnered with two auto raceways, which it views as giving it market access.
With 14 sportsbooks already licensed, we are technically at the cap under state law. But as we’ve stated, these laws aren’t as firm as they appear. There could be a few more coming to the state. Here’s a partial list of who else could join.
Some of the sportsbook ‘players’
Bluhm’s Rush Street has brought the BetRivers online sportsbook to Virginia, or at least the Rush Street Interactive software that powers BetRivers.
Another group that has found its way into Virginia is MGM Resorts International. Before landing in Virginia, MGM already had a presence in neighboring Maryland, with a large retail casino just across the Wilson Bridge from Alexandria. MGM National Harbor gets an estimated 30% of its revenue from VA residents, so it only makes sense to lock up that existing revenue plus expand state wide.
And let’s not forget the NFL’s Washington Commanders, which is actively shopping for a new home once its lease for FedEx Field in Landover, Md. ends in 2027. The team already has its headquarters in Virginia, which made it eligible for a sports betting license, which led to a partnership with FanDuel. FanDuel was the first online sportsbook to go live in VA when it launched on January 21, 2021.
Virginia is now in the running to host the NFL stadium, because the law permits Virginia-based professional stadiums or major professional teams with headquarters in Virginia to obtain licensure to run brick-and-mortar and online sportsbooks. The Washington franchise has made it clear that they’re interested in getting involved in betting. According to the new law, up to five professional sports teams/venues could offer retail and mobile sports wagering — one each from Major League Baseball, the NBA, the NHL, the NFL, and Major League Soccer.
Retail sports betting in Virginia
Voters approved brick-and-mortar casinos on the Nov. 2020 ballot with construction starting immediately on several projects around the state. Before there could be retail sports betting in Virginia, there would need to be facilities to house them.
|Retail Sportsbook Name||Location||Launch|
|Hard Rock Sportsbook||Hard Rock Casino Bristol - Bristol, VA||July 2022|
|BetRivers Sportsbook||Rivers Casino Portsmouth - Portsmouth, VA||January 2023|
For more than a year after the January 2021 launch Virginia was an online-only sports betting state. However, in July 2022, Hard Rock Sportsbook opened the first brick-and-mortar sportsbook in the Old Dominion in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol.
The first ever retail sportsbook in the state of Virginia is now open 🤩 pic.twitter.com/gZyXDUJOe2
— Hard Rock Sportsbook (@HardRockSB) July 8, 2022
Exciting retail projects are planned throughout the state, enriching the Virginia sports betting experience.
Casinos in Virginia
Voters in the cities of Bristol, Danville, Portsmouth, Norfolk, and Richmond all approved retail casinos on Nov. 3, 2020. Several cities have already selected partners and begun planning. Here’s a look at the deals so far:
- Rivers Casino Portsmouth opened for business in January of 2023. The venue boasts over 1,000 slot machines, 50+ table games, and of course, the state of the art BetRivers Sportsbook.
- The city of Bristol has partnered with coal industrialist, Jim McGlothlin, while officially opening the Hard Rock Bristol Resort and Casino with Hard Rock as an equity partner in July 2022.
- The city of Danville has selected Caesars Entertainment as its gaming partner with plans to build a conference center, live-entertainment venue and casino with a sportsbook. The ‘Caesars Virginia’ facility is targeting a 2024 grand opening.
- The city of Norfolk has agreed to sell land to the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, which has plans to build a casino resort near Harbor Park. The aptly named HeadWaters Casino is expected to open in summer or fall of 2024.
- The tribe also purchased land in the city of Richmond in August 2020, and is among multiple entities interested in building a casino there. The city of Richmond has yet to select a partner, and voters there had the opportunity to approve a casino project via referendum in November 2021, but it failed to pass.
Professional Sports Teams for Virginia Fans
Updated May 31, 2023 – Odds provided from FanDuel and they are subject to change.
|Washington Commanders||NFL||Win Superbowl +6000|
|Washington Capitals||NHL||Win Stanley Cup +5500|
|Washington Wizards||NBA||Win NBA title N/A|
|Washington Nationals||MLB||Win World Series +100000|
The latest VA news
Strong March For Virginia Books As Handle Tops $500M For Fifth Time In Six Months
A healthy hold rate of 10.8% propels operators to their best collective revenue month of the year as bettors struggle vs. books.
Tentative Washington Commanders Sale Carries Vast Sports Betting Implications
A group led by Josh Harris has a close relationship with Fanatics, raising questions of the role sports betting could play in the purchase.
Virginia Sports Wagering Revenue Dips Under $40 Million For February
Virginia became the ninth state in the post-PASPA era to surpass $9 billion total handle despite a soft $433.8 million for February.
Carve-outs for college sports
Sports betting in Virginia looks similar to most other states, with two notable exceptions, both regarding college sports. First up, you can’t wager on any Virginia college and university action. This is similar to New Jersey’s law, where in-state collegiate betting markets are closed. It would have been frustrating or problematic during the Virginia Cavaliers’ NCAA men’s college basketball championship run in 2019, or one of the many successful Virginia Tech college football seasons. The second wrinkle is no prop wagering on college sports, which is also the case in many states, including Indiana and Iowa.
Sports betting states bordering Virginia
Virginia isn’t the only sports betting state in its region – far from it, in fact. Every state (and the District of Columbia!) that borders Virginia now has some form of legal betting.
- Delaware was among the first states to act on betting post-PASPA. However, it’s only available at a handful of retail racinos throughout the state.
- Kentucky legalized sports betting during the 2023 session. Legal betting hasn’t launched yet, but online sports betting apps are expected to be live by the end of the year.
- Maryland online sports betting began in full in November 2023. Retail betting has been available in MD since December 2021.
- North Carolina has approved retail betting, but the only sportsbooks are located in the more remote western portion of the state. Bettors in the urban centers like Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, Durham, etc., are hours away form the nearest in-state betting option. North Carolina is intensely discussing the prospect of legalizing online betting, too.
- Tennessee online sportsbooks have been available since November of 2020. Tennessee is one of the nation’s only online-only betting states.
- Washington DC has offered a relatively restrictive form of online betting since 2020. Both Caesars (Capital One Arena) and BetMGM (Nationals Park) are active in the state, but you must be within a 2 block radius of their retail venue to place a bet. The DC Lottery operates an online sportsbook that is available throughout the state but it’s not an ideal product.
- West Virginia’s sports betting industry has been online and active since 2018. For a comparatively small state, the Mountain State has a surprisingly robust list of betting options.
Virginia online sportsbooks offer plenty of easy to use banking methods. These include the following, though not all sportsbooks utilize all of these options.
- Online banking
- Cash at the casino cages
- Site-specific prepaid debit cards
- Paper check
Virginia Sports Betting Revenue
Online sports betting has been live in Virginia since January 2021. Retail betting began in July of 2022.
Since that time, revenue in the Mother of States has continuously seen solid numbers. Here’s what the last few months have looked like in Virginia:
|Overall Handle||Sportsbook Revenue||Taxes Collected|
Frequently asked questions
Is sports betting legal in the state of Virginia?
Yes, regulations were finalized in late 2020, and we saw the first sportsbook, FanDuel, go live in January 2021, followed by several others.
Who can place a real-money sports bet in Virginia?
Anyone aged 21 or older within Virginia state limits is able to place a wager.
How many online sportsbooks are available in Virginia?
Currently there are 15 online sportsbooks, but there is a possibility of having up to 18 when all is said and done. The table above will provide a complete list of who is live right now.
Are mobile sportsbooks offering bonuses for new players?
Absolutely! Check the table above for a full list of the top Virginia sports betting bonuses.
How can I deposit online?
Methods such as PayPal, credit cards, ACH transfer and prepaid cards are amongst the most common options.
Can I bet on college sports in Virginia?
Yes you can. It is legal to bet on college sports in Virginia. Notably, Virginia colleges are not available to bet on. So if you’re looking to back the Cavs, Hokies, or another popular in-state school – you can’t do it from a Virginia sportsbook.
What bet types and betting markets are available?
All your favorite bets such as moneyline, spreads, totals, parlays and more. Two notable exceptions: Wagering on games involving Virginia collegiate teams is not allowed, and live betting on any college game is also be prohibited.
What is the history of sports betting in Virginia?
Virginia is historically not known as a gambling friendly state, and in fact had no forms of gambling until the early 1970s where charitable gaming was legalized, which was mostly limited to bingo. In 1987, the Virginia Lottery was formed which began offering scratch games and interstate options like Mega Millions and Powerball. Fast forward to now, that same entity is overseeing regulations for online sports betting and daily fantasy sports. Retail casinos are now being constructed and each casino will include a retail sportsbook making Virginia go from little to no gambling in the state to a full slate of gaming options in just a few years time. As of July, 2022, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol became the first retail sports betting location in the Old Dominion.
How legal sports betting came to be in Virginia
Legal sports betting’s arrival in Virginia may come as a bit of a surprise to many residents. After all, Virginia had been one of the few states where there were absolutely no casinos, commercial or tribal.
Virginia does, however, have a rich history of horse racing, dating back to the first settlers. (Despite the Puritan nature of the times, horse racing has always been a thing in Virginia.) But outside of Virginia voters bringing the lottery to town in 1987, gambling in Virginia has been relatively barren compared to other states.
And then in the spring of 2018, when PASPA was overturned, sports betting in the Old Dominion state began its relatively quick journey from idea to actuality.
The first bill was put forward in November of 2018, and much of it came to pass, namely the 15% tax, the $250,000 operator fee, and the ban on betting on Virginia collegiate sports. One key difference: The original bill, written by Delegate Mark Sickles, would have only allowed for five operators.
The VA sports betting law
The new laws specifically call for a minimum of four and maximum of 12 sports betting permits to be issued at any one time (with a maximum of 18 total) and that the amount issued should “maximize tax revenue.”
Operators are on a sliding scale for a three-year license. The bills originally called for a flat $250,000 license fee, but among Northam’s amendment was one that calls for a $50,000 fee per principal within an organization. A principal is defined as someone who has a 5% or more ownership stake in a company. The tax rate is set at 15%.
The bill requires a couple things that the pro sports leagues have lobbied for — a requirement for “official league data,” which is dissected and criticized here, as well as the requirement that sportsbooks provide leagues with “real-time” data, which is another onerous provision.
Despite not having any previous gambling in the state, Virginia made good on its expectations of taking bets in early 2021 when we saw four online sportsbooks start accepting wagers via the internet. Virginia has the potential of being a huge market in the US with nearly 9 million residents.
This page will be updated with developments as they occur.