Is Virginia Just A Month Away From Legal Sports Betting? What We Know Today

Posted on December 21, 2020

Many people are looking forward to the end of 2020, but those in Virginia have another exciting reason to look ahead: legal sports betting.

Virginia’s legislature passed two significant gaming bills last year: one authorizing VA casinos and another legalizing sports betting. Casinos have a longer wait but the Virginia online sportsbooks should launch through mobile in early 2021, perhaps as early as January. That would mean Virginians could take legal NFL bets during part of the playoffs and the Super Bowl.

The Virginia Lottery opened its sports betting application period Oct. 15 and ran through Halloween. The Lottery has 90 days to consider those applications. That suggests the first betting operators could be live in mid-January.

A Lottery spokesperson had no updates on the process when reached by LSR. That’s not a surprise considering how secretive the Lottery has made the process, though last month it did finally confirm 25 sports betting applications were submitted.

No applicants have been confirmed by the Lottery, though some applicants are obvious.

Number of Virginia sports betting operators still unknown

Out of those 25 applicants, just about half will likely be licensed.

The law allows for anywhere from four to 12 licenses. Five of those are essentially set aside for casino operators in the state.

That leaves four to seven untethered mobile licenses. It’s up to Executive Director Kevin Hall to decide how many operators creates the best financial situation for the state.

There could also be sports franchises that get sports betting licenses as well. WynnBET hopes NASCAR tracks are included in that after signing a multi-year deal to be the official online sportsbook of Virginia’s two tracks.

Who else is looking for a VA license?

Here’s what we know about those interested in VA sports betting:

  • LSR understands BetMGM, DraftKings Sportsbook, theScore Bet and ZenSports applied.
  • PointsBet confirmed its interest in Virginia on a conference call earlier this fall.
  • Three of Virginia’s confirmed casino operators – Caesars (William Hill), Hard Rock and Rush Street (BetRivers) – should get licensed. The Pamunkey Indian Tribe hasn’t announced who its partner will be for the Norfolk casino.
  • FanDuel Sportsbook, Handle 19 and US Bookmaking all responded to the Lottery’s public comment period.

Assuming all 11 of these companies applied, that means there are 14 more unknown applicants.

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Matthew Waters

Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

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