Plenty Of Interest In Remaining VA Sports Betting Licenses

Posted on June 16, 2021
VA sports betting
Posted By on June 16, 2021

There is once again an abundance of applicants for the remaining VA sports betting licenses.

The Virginia Lottery received 18 applications from May 15-31 for up to five sportsbook licenses available in the state, according to a lottery spokesperson:

“Those applications are currently being reviewed. We don’t have a definite date as to when new licenses will be approved, but it won’t be before July 1, when legislation takes effect.”

That brings the total potential online sportsbooks in Virginia to 18 for now. More could launch depending on professional teams that might move to the state and sign partnerships, like FanDuel Sportsbook with the Washington Football Team.

VA sports betting law about to change

July 1 is an important date for betting laws in Virginia. That is when legislation that fixed a few mistakes from 2020‘s enabling legislation will officially become law.

Del. Mark Sickles and Sen. Jeremy McPike, the electeds primarily behind the push to legalize VA sports betting, sponsored bills this year that changed aspects of the law. Other changes clarify Olympic betting is allowed and empower the Lottery to allow new betting markets.

Neither intended the sports betting licenses associated with Virginia’s five future casinos to count against the mobile license cap. That means there can be 12 online-only licenses as of July 1, down from seven previously.

Five not a lock though

All five licenses are not guaranteed. The legislation only called for a minimum of four online-only sportsbooks. VA Lottery Executive Director Kevin Hall makes the final call on how many licenses to hand out based on what should maximize revenue for the state.

It is hard to imagine anything other than all five licenses awarded though. The Virginia online sports betting market is off to a hot start since its mid-January launch.

It is expected the market hit $1 billion in handle last month after totaling $865.2 million through April.

Overflowing applications first time around

The VA Lottery received 25 applications for the initial licensing period when the market was capped at 12 total licenses plus partnership licenses.

Ten sportsbooks hold licenses in the state right now, seven of which are live:

  • Bally Bet (not launched)
  • Barstool Sportsbook (not launched)
  • BetMGM
  • BetRivers
  • DraftKings Sportsbook
  • FanDuel Sportsbook
  • Golden Nugget (not launched)
  • Unibet
  • William Hill
  • WynnBET

Companies that applied the first time around but are still without a VA license include PointsBet and theScore Bet.

Those applying this time also have new standards via the legislation. There will be “substantial and preferred consideration” based on minority participation.

That language held the bill up until the Lottery said the new requirements would not affect those companies already licensed.

Still more VA sports betting licenses

More VA sportsbook partners still need deciding.

Hard Rock, the Pamunkey Indians and the Urban One casino project in Richmond will get sports betting licenses.

Hard Rock will likely work with its in-house Hard Rock Digital but the other two future brands are still unknown.

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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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