Sports betting is now live in Virginia. FanDuel and DraftKings Sportsbook launched a VA sports betting app in January 2021. FanDuel was able to be the first to debut thanks, in part, to its partnership with Washington Football Team, which maintains its headquarters in Virginia.
State law requires at least four online sportsbooks to launch, and there could be as many as twelve. With major metropolitan areas both in and around Virginia, you can bet that the other big boys are champing at the bit.
The good news is that you have come to the right place for information about Virginia sports betting. We have all the latest news and information about the launch, and as new online sportsbooks pop up, we will also have the best bonus offers too. Read on for all things relevant to online sports betting in Virginia.
Last updated: April 5, 2021
Fixes signed into law by Gov. Ralph Northam will add up to five more sportsbook licensees.
Virginia sports betting law was supposed to allow for a maximum of 12 licenses, but make clear that any associated with casinos would not be counted against that cap. The law was enacted without making that clear, but HB 1847 and SB 1254 now do. Those dozen licenses will now be available, in all likelihood, for untethered mobile apps.
Virginia could now sanction up to 18 sportsbooks as licenses awarded to professional teams – FanDuel Sportsbook has a deal with Washington Football Team – don’t count either. WFT plays in Maryland now but is shopping for a new stadium locale.
The Virginia Lottery in March, 2021 issued temporary permits on March 15 for Barstool Sportsbook, Bally’s, and Golden Nugget to launch in the state and increase the number of active operators to nine. Barstool is expected to go live first, with Bally’s and Golden Nugget probably eying a summer debut.
WynnBet became the sixth sportsbook to launch in Virginia on early March 5, bringing the live operator total to six.
WynnBet joins William Hill, FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, and BetRivers which are all live in the Commonwealth. The Virginia Lottery issued WynnBet’s final approval on March 5, opening it to its fourth state as a mobile and online sports betting provider.
WynnBet is also the official online sportsbook of Martinsville Speedway and Richmond Raceway. The company plans to build a sportsbook-themed lounge at the famed Richmond venue.
Meanwhile, preparations to build four land-based casinos in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Richmond are moving forward. Expect to see casino resorts open their doors sometime in 2022 or 2023.
Sports betting is a bit of an oddity for Virginia residents. Virginia has little history of legal gambling inside state lines beyond betting on horse races and the lottery.
So, if you live in Virginia, it’s unlikely you’ve had much experience with sports betting of any type, much less online sports betting. If you have, you’re ahead of the game. However, it’s understandable if you’re feeling intimidated at the idea of placing a wager on a sporting event through your computer or mobile device.
As it turns out, betting through your device is largely superior to traveling to a brick-and-mortar sportsbook. There are usually more options for wagering, more flexibility in your betting, and you don’t run the risk of getting into a car accident unless somebody drives through your living room.
Most people access sports betting apps through their mobile devices. As a general rule, sportsbooks have dedicated apps for Apple (iOS) and Android phones, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble gaining entry into the online sportsbook world.
If you prefer to use a computer, however, that’s probably all right. Many (but not all) sportsbooks also maintain a browser version of their site. These versions are usually designed to optimize for your device’s screen automatically, so there really isn’t be a problem with using your laptop or desktop in most cases.
In brief, here are the four steps you need to undertake in order to start with an online sportsbook app:
The Virginia law that legalized sports betting and went into effect in July 2020 did not require that operators tether to any current (of which there are none) or future casino operators, so the field is completely open for the 18 potential VA sports betting licenses.
FanDuel and DraftKings were two of the first sportsbooks to arrive in Virginia. For the rest, these operators either have launched early in other states, have partnered with casino development entities in Virginia, or both.
DraftKings is now live in Virginia. Time and again over the past few years, DraftKings Sportsbook has proven itself to be one of the finest and one of the first sportsbooks to launch in multiple states. Between the company’s hunger to expand and its incredibly innovative app, DraftKings has far exceeded the confines of its DFS roots in places like New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
William Hill Sportsbook is one of the largest bookmakers in both the US and the world at large. The British sportsbook has been active in Nevada since 2013 and has more retail shops than any other sportsbook in that state. The company also has nearly a century of bookmaking experience and has been in the vanguard of early adopters elsewhere in the United States.
It should come as no surprise that the FanDuel Sportsbook would be one of the first to market. It did surprise us by partnering with the Washington Football Team to do so. A quick, intuitive app with loads of great promotions has put FanDuel at the top of several sports betting states. Virginia is simply the latest to join the party.
BetMGM is a sportsbook company with a clear pedigree and connection to gambling. It is the online sports betting arm of MGM Resorts International, one of the largest gambling companies in the world. BetMGM has also been at the forefront of launches in several states and is now live in Virginia.
WynnBet Sportsbook became the fifth gambling site to launch an online sportsbook in Virginia. Partnered with NASCAR, the WynnBet app went live on March 15, 2021. Wynn is the official sportsbook partner for the Martinsville Speedway and Richmond Raceway.
Unibet is the newest betting app to arrive in Virginia. The brand may not be well-known in the state, but it’s a big name internationally. The site comes equipped not only with years of experience but also with an easy-to-use app.
BetRivers Sportsbook already has a deal in place to be the sports betting provider for the potentially soon-to-be-built casino in Portsmouth. Additionally, BetRivers has been first to market or near first to market in several locations, and Virginia’s population means that it is certainly a priority target for the operator. Virginians likely will soon be able to play on a clean, sleek app with one of the only dedicated loyalty programs for sports bettors.
There are a couple of other companies that will be part of the Virginia sports betting landscape at some point. Frankly, though, neither one of them has proven itself to be one of the first-to-market powerhouses like the operators above. So, although they bear mention and will likely launch at some point, we’ll have to see what sorts of things they have to offer inhabitants of Old Dominion.
Hard Rock Sportsbook aims to be part of Virginia sports betting in the future. The company has reached terms on an agreement with the casino planners in Bristol, and has already indicated that a sportsbook operation is part of the plan. Hard Rock does have an online sports betting presence in New Jersey, but its results have been middling so far. Perhaps Virginia will serve as a better proving ground for the music-themed company.
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe is one of the first federally recognized Native American tribes to call Virginia home. It was the first tribe to acquire recognition from the US government. As such, it is certainly the most homegrown potential participant in Virginia sports betting. In fact, the tribe has managed to gain the inside track on not one, but two of Virginia’s potential casino sites in Richmond and Norfolk. Whether the tribe will be successful in its quest for both cities remains unclear, but tribe officials, who will be new to sports betting, will have a steep learning curve to negotiate.
Sportsbook bonuses follow hand-in-hand with sportsbooks in the state.
The fact of the matter is that online sportsbooks are in intense competition with one another at all times, so it is imperative that they introduce and maintain generous bonuses for new and existing players. Otherwise, a simple button press could lose them a customer.
Since the market itself is new, operators are seeking to grab as much market share as they can. They are rolling out the red carpet for you in order to make that happen.
We talked briefly in earlier sections about using bonus codes to redeem offers and promotions at Virginia sportsbooks. Bonuses are a ubiquitous feature of playing on an online sportsbook because bookmakers are always looking for ways to create a sense of brand loyalty from their customer bases.
However, you are going to encounter more than one type of bonus. In fact, there is more than one way a sportsbook could choose to reward you.
Let’s talk about all the different types of bonuses. If you just want a brief rundown of what you can find, though, here are the types of bonuses on Virginia sportsbooks:
As you’ll see, not all bonuses are created equal. One of the main differences from one bonus to another is the type of reward you can receive.
If you’ve never downloaded an online sportsbook before, you might be surprised to learn about all the betting options that you have at your disposal. As it turns out, online sportsbooks tend to have more opportunities and flexibility than their retail counterparts.
All of the types of bets that you’d like to make in a live sportsbook are available through your mobile device or computer. There are even some betting types — notably, live betting — that are far more prevalent online. Here are the different types of bets you will encounter:
No pun intended, but betting on horse races in Virginia has become quite a different animal in the past few years. It has gone from a state with almost no racing aside from online horse betting to one with live events and multiple off-track facilities across the land.
First and foremost, you can attend live horse races at Colonial Downs, the sole horse track in operation in Virginia. The track, which was dormant for several years, is now offering live racing on several dates during the summer.
Colonial Downs also owns and operates four off-track locations: Hampton, New Kent, Richmond and Vinton. All four sites and Colonial Downs itself host several thousand historical horse race machines for players to use. These machines, which use data from old horse races to function, are virtually indistinguishable from traditional slot machines in terms of their operation and design.
Virginians can also wager on simulcast horse races through their mobile devices and computers, as online horse betting is legal in the state. By far, the best option for making these kinds of wagers is with TVG. TVG, in addition to being a horse betting site, is a full-service round-the-clock broadcast network dedicated to horse racing. If you want to become a better bettor, you should try TVG.
Virginia law does not require online sportsbooks to be affiliated with land-based casinos in the state in order to operate. Such a requirement would be quite stifling in a state that has no casinos currently and might only have five of them in the near future.
However, the proposed new casinos are permitted by state law to offer sports betting independent of the 12 licenses that online operators may acquire. As such, each location’s development team has either already secured a partnership or is negotiating a partnership with sportsbook companies to provide the operations of the prospective sportsbooks on the properties.
Here are the sites and their likely partners:
By virtue of the November 2020 referenda, every city except for Richmond approved the introduction of casinos into their city limits. So, the construction of these resorts should commence shortly, and the first casinos are scheduled to appear in 2022 or 2023.
Richmond elected to delay its referendum for a year. So, residents there will get to vote on the matter in November 2021. Although nothing is certain, the other four measure passed overwhelmingly, and there’s no reason to suspect that the outcome will be any different in the state capital.
There are five cities in Virginia designated as possible locations for new casinos. Any casino plan that ends up coming to fruition in Virginia is likely going to include a provision for a retail sportsbook. The opportunity for profit is simply too great to ignore.
Four of those cities have already confirmed that casinos may be constructed inside their borders. So, the introduction of a retail sportsbook is all but certain in the following locations:
Richmond is likely to join the list, but we won’t know for sure until the results of its upcoming referendum in November 2021 are compiled.
Sports betting became legal in Virginia in July 2020. The twin bills (House and Senate versions) passed through both chambers in April 2020 and only drew a few tweaks from Gov. Ralph Northam. After lawmakers accepted the governor’s changes, the new law had only to wait two months before it became effective.
There were some positive and negative things about the finished version of the law. On the one hand, online sportsbook operators did not have to gain partnership in the state to apply for one of 12 licenses approved in the statute. In addition, the language of the bill provided for the potential for five new sportsbooks at proposed casino sites in the state. Finally, an 18th license was approved as a possible bargaining chip to lure a professional sports team to the state.
On the other hand, the language of the bill was quite restrictive with regard to betting on collegiate sports. No Virginia college can be the subject of a wager, and in game betting on collegiate sports of any kind is prohibited.
It’s unclear how many of the 18 potential licenses will end up used. However, between the population centers in and around Virginia, the modest $250,000 license fee (active for three years) and the reasonable 15% tax rate, there should be plenty of interest from enterprising sportsbook operators.