Surprise: Virginia Sports Betting Live After Thursday Launch

Posted on January 21, 2021 - Last Updated on February 23, 2021
Virginia sports betting
Posted By on January 21, 2021
Last Updated on February 23, 2021

Virginia sports betting launched Thursday, according to state regulators who gave the first license to FanDuel.

FanDuel Sportsbook tweeted that would unveil its product to the Virginia sports betting market “in 24 hours” before later amending that to “soon”:

Virginia sports betting

The accompanying video from Wednesday’s tweet still says launch would occur “tomorrow.” FanDuel users in Virginia also received activation emails Wednesday saying both FanDuel would launch “tomorrow”and “1/21.”

Inquiries to FanDuel to confirm the timing of the launch were not immediately answered but the Virginia Lottery provided some clarity. FanDuel was approved as a sports betting operator Wednesday through a partnership with the Washington Football Team, a lottery spokesperson confirmed:

The first mobile sports betting permit has been awarded to FanDuel through its partnership with the Washington Football Team, which was granted “substantial and preferred consideration” by the Virginia General Assembly. Decisions on additional permit awards are imminent, and we anticipate more than one sportsbook will be in position to begin accepting legal wagers from Virginians in time for the Super Bowl on Feb. 7th.

Professional sports teams and casinos are given preferred treatment in the process for their financial contributions to the state. The WFT is based in Ashburn and is considering a new stadium in Virginia.

Who will offer Virginia sports betting?

Even the identity of which sportsbooks will operate in Virginia remains in question. The competitive application process could yield as many as 12 online-only sportsbooks in the state.

Regulators have kept almost all information about the process away from public view, however. That makes FanDuel’s announcement not only the first word of a launch date, but the first confirmation from any of the 25 applicants.

LSR understands these companies either submitted a sports betting application or otherwise expressed interest:

  • BetMGM
  • BetRivers
  • DraftKings Sportsbook
  • Handle 19
  • Hard Rock
  • PointsBet
  • theScore Bet
  • US Bookmaking
  • William Hill

Major league sports franchises that build a new stadium in Virginia also can apply for a license. As many as five newly authorized casinos also would be eligible.

Virginia needs two takes to get the shot

Legislators needed two tries to authorize legal sports betting in Virginia.

Their first attempt in 2019 fell short as legislators balked at regulating sports betting. They instead opted for further study of both sports wagering and casino expansion.

Last year’s pass proved successful, though, with a huge push from both neighboring states and pro sports teams. DC sports betting started in 2020, giving the district a head start in the DMV area, albeit with a crippled mobile product. Voters next door gave the green light to Maryland sports betting in November, setting up a potential late 2021 launch.

Washington Football Team owner Dan Snyder last year lobbied lawmakers in Maryland and Virginia to move on legal sports betting. Snyder reportedly dangled the carrot of building a new stadium in whichever state legalized sports wagering.

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Adam Candee

Adam Candee is the managing editor of Legal Sports Report. He covers sports business and news from Las Vegas, where he works as a sports radio host for ESPN and VSiN. Adam is a former editor and reporter at the Las Vegas Sun, Arizona Daily Sun, and KLAS-TV. He can be reached at [email protected]

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