Three More Virginia Sportsbooks Authorized For Launch

Posted on March 16, 2021

Another three operators joined the slowly evolving list of licensed Virginia sportsbooks Monday evening, bringing the total to eight.

Barstool Sportsbook, Golden Nugget Online and Bally’s received temporary permits to launch sports betting in Virginia. Virginia could be the next market for Barstool, which is planning to launch a new state every three to five weeks according to Penn National‘s latest conference call. The brand launched just last week in Illinois.

Don’t hold your breath for Bally’s or GNOG, though. Golden Nugget told LSR it expects to launch sports betting this summer while Bally’s declined to comment. It could be a similar timeline for Bally’s as well considering its acquisition of Bet.Works is on hold until at least June.

Six other Virginia sportsbooks are already live:

  • BetMGM
  • BetRivers
  • DraftKings Sportsbook
  • FanDuel Sportsbook
  • William Hill
  • WynnBET

It appears those six will be the only options Virginia bettors have for March Madness betting, which kicks off this week. No doubt bettors are ready to bet legally on the tournament for the first time considering handle hit $58.9 million in the market’s first 11 days.

Slow Virginia sportsbook licensing process

Everything involving the launch of sports betting in Virginia has been a surprise so far. For whatever reason, that is by design from the Virginia Lottery.

The Lottery never released who applied for the licenses and instead just said 25 companies submitted applications.

The market’s launch was announced by FanDuel Sportsbook the night before it officially went live. Since then, the only way to find out about new approvals has been to keep refershing the Virginia Lottery’s website.

There was also more than a month gap between the fifth approved operator, William Hill, and the sixth, WynnBET. That could have been because the Lottery was consulted by legislators to weigh in on a bill that would change some aspects of sports betting licenses.

How are Bally’s, Golden Nugget licensed?

The pending legislation on Gov. Ralph Northam‘s desk would allow all casinos in the state to operate mobile sports betting without counting against the mobile license cap.

That could ultimately change how either Bally’s or Golden Nugget is licensed.

Both companies are bidding for the last remaining VA casino license in Richmond. Bally’s proposed a $650 million project while Golden Nugget – a separate company from the publicly-traded GNOG – pitched a $400 million project.

Both licenses are categorized as mobile-only. That spot could open back up if either wins that casino license and Northam signs the bill as expected.

For now, there are six mobile-only licenses used. Only four were guaranteed to be issued with 12 the maximum allowed.

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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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