More Licenses For VA Sportsbooks Available After Bill Signed By Governor

Written By Matthew Waters on March 31, 2021
VA sportsbooks

Up to five additional licenses for VA sportsbooks are available after Gov. Ralph Northam signed legislation to fix last year’s betting bill.

Northam signed HB 1847 from Del. Mark Sickles and SB 1254 from Sen. Jeremy McPike late last week. The bills accomplished multiple goals but most importantly correct an omission from last year’s legislation for sports betting in Virginia.

The VA sports betting licenses associated with casinos were not supposed to count against the cap of 12 maximum mobile licenses, but last year’s bills didn’t actually accomplish that. Now, those up to 12 licenses will be for untethered mobile apps.

That pushes the potential market size to 18 sportsbooks or more. Licenses awarded to sportsbooks via an agreement with a professional team, like FanDuel Sportsbook signed with the Washington Football Team, do not count against the cap either.

How many licenses are left for VA sportsbooks?

There still is no definitive answer for how many sportsbook licenses remain in Virginia. The situation is now a bit clearer, though, with as many as seven still potentially up for grabs.

So far, the Virginia Lottery licensed nine sportsbooks:

  • Bally Bets
  • Barstool Sportsbook
  • BetMGM
  • BetRivers
  • DraftKings Sportsbook
  • FanDuel Sportsbook
  • Golden Nugget
  • William Hill
  • WynnBET

Along with the FanDuel Sportsbook license, it’s expected that BetRivers and William Hill will not count against the mobile cap. Both brands are associated with casinos that recently received voter approval in the state.

Hard Rock also received approval for one of the state’s five casino licenses. The Pamunkey Indians have not announced their betting partner for their Norfolk casino yet.

That leaves six sportsbooks licensed as mobile-only operators, but that could still change. Bally’s moved to the final selection stage for the Richmond casino last week.

Other changes from sports betting legislation

The legislation did more than just add VA sportsbook licenses:

  • Sportsbooks can now offer bets on the Olympics. The Lottery decided against Olympic betting because of language in the law concerning betting on youth events. This legislation clarified Olympic events are classified as amateur sports and not youth sports.
  • The Lottery will not have to lean on legislation anymore for those types of changes either. New language gives the Lottery the authority to approve new betting markets.
  • The up-to-seven remaining mobile-only licenses will now get “substantial and preferred consideration” based on minority participation. That language held the process up a bit, but the Lottery eventually confirmed including that language wouldn’t affect current licensees.
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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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