Virginia online sports betting is live and legal after launching in January 2021. Featuring 13 sportsbook apps with more on the way, the Virginia sports betting market will also debut retail betting and casinos in 2022 and 2023. The same law that enabled sports betting also called for the construction of several casinos in the state, and it’s those future casinos that could host new sportsbooks later.
Virginia is mostly an online-only betting market but saw its first physical sportsbook open in July 2022. However, the online sportsbooks are a popular choice for many and come with an array of options, promotions, and bonuses for new users in the state. Keep reading for more information about sports betting in Virginia.
Best Virginia sportsbooks for 2022
What’s happening in Virginia sports betting right now
- September 19, 2022 – The Washington Commanders could not recover from a late start and lost 36-27 to the Detroit Lions despite scoring all 27 points in the second half.
- September 6, 2022 – Tax revenue paid by sportsbooks in July jumped 63.5% to $3 million compared to $1.9 million in June despite flat revenue as unlimited promotional deductions ended in June. Virginia’s latest budget limits promo deductions from taxable revenue for just the first 12 months an operator is live.
- August 22, 2022 – The college football season kicks off with two Virginia-focused games as Virginia Tech faces Old Dominion and Richmond visits UVA. Betting on in-state colleges is illegal in the state, though, so fans will have to travel to neighboring jurisdictions with legal betting to wager on either game.
- August 10, 2022 – The budget for the Caesars casino in Danville jumped to $650 million from $500 million as the operator announced a partnership with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
- August 1, 2022 – Virginia’s 13 live sportsbooks reported $295.2 million in handle and nearly $26 million in revenue for June. Operators deducted $7.8 million in bonuses and promos, though that should decrease significantly moving forward with the new rule ending promo deductions after 12 months now live.
- July 20, 2022 – Operators can no longer deduct their promotional costs from taxable revenue after one year, according to language in Virginia’s latest budget.
- July 8, 2022 – The first retail sportsbook in Virginia is now open after Hard Rock opened a sportsbook at its temporary casino in Bristol.
- July 6, 2022 – Sports betting in Virginia hit $351.5 million in handle during May with $42.5 million in revenue. The revenue is the highest since November 2021 while handle is the lowest since September 2021.
Comparing top Virginia sports betting apps
Depending on what your preferences are, a certain book might be better for you than others. Here are some tips to help you decide:
- Best sportsbooks for major sports: DraftKings and FanDuel. Both sportsbooks have relationships with most of the major sports leagues and offer a variety of wagers and promos for them. FanDuel is partnered with the Washington Commanders.
- Best sportsbook for betting variety: BetMGM. BetMGM has one of the deepest libraries of sports to bet on in Virginia. You can find a huge lineup of NFL bets alongside snooker, tennis and MMA.
- Best sportsbook app navigation: FanDuel. There might be no easier app to use than FanDuel’s, which is smooth, sleek and intuitive. A 2021 independent study published by Eilers & Krejcik Gaming noted that FanDuel consistently earns high marks for user experience and betting interface.
- Best promotional program: Caesars and BetRivers. Both Caesars and BetRivers offer extensive promotions and deals. Both also feature two of the most well-known loyalty programs in the business: Caesars Rewards and iRush Rewards.
- Best sportsbooks for flexibility and customization: BetMGM and DraftKings. BetMGM’s Edit My Bet feature allows bettors to substitute teams, increase bets or add legs to existing wagers. DraftKings presents each bettor with a carousel of personalized wagers.
1. DraftKings Sportsbook
DraftKings Sportsbooks Virginia has staked out its position through an innovative app with several groundbreaking features. It was the first sportsbook in the US to offer early cash-outs, and it also offers a betting carousel that presents wagers likely to appeal to bettors based on their betting history. DraftKings could stand to offer more promos to existing players, however.
- App store rating: 4.8 (iOS), 4.6 (Android)
- Key takeaway: DraftKings has some of the best features and options for almost any type of sports bettor.
- Best feature: Betting carousel
- VA bonus offer: Up to $1,050 on your first deposit
2. Caesars Sportsbook
Caesars Sportsbook is a combination of two massive names in gambling — Caesars and William Hill. Caesars likely won’t blow bettors away with its sportsbook features, but it offers plenty of bet types. Caesars is also generous with its bonuses and promotions, including its rewards program. However, the app is rather basic compared to some of the other big-name sportsbook apps.
- App store rating: 4.6 (iOS), 4.2 (Android)
- Key takeaway: Caesars is an average app with an above-average slate of promotions.
- Best feature: Caesars Rewards
- VA bonus offer: Risk-free first bet up to $1,250
3. BetMGM Sportsbook
This is the online sports betting wing of MGM Resorts, one of the world’s largest gambling companies. BetMGM Sportsbook Virginia has more sports to bet on than you’ll find almost anywhere else. It also offers the Edit My Bet function, which provides more flexibility to bettors with open wagers than almost any other sportsbook. However, some areas of the app are difficult to use.
- App store rating: 4.8 (iOS), 4.3 (Android)
- Key takeaway: You can find almost any type of wager on BetMGM.
- Best feature: Edit My Bet
- VA bonus offer: Risk-free first bet for up to $1,000
4. BetRivers Sportsbook
BetRivers Sportsbook Virginia is part of Rush Street, a large regional gambling operator with most of its properties in the Northeast. BetRivers offers one of the best apps to immerse yourself into sports betting in a manner more similar to a live sportsbook than an online one. Some bets you make offer live streaming of the games on which you’re wagering. However, BetRivers’ app itself is a bit rough and hard to manage.
- App store rating: 1.8 (iOS), 3.3 (Android)
- Key takeaway: BetRivers is probably the closest that online sports betting comes to the retail experience.
- Best feature: iRush Rewards
- VA bonus offer: 100% deposit bonus up to $500
5. FanDuel Sportsbook
FanDuel was the first sportsbook app to debut in Virginia and is (to date) the only sportsbook to partner with one of the two pro sports teams with headquarters in Virginia. In this case, FanDuel has a deal with the Washington Commanders. In addition to smooth navigation, FanDuel Sportsbook Virginia also offers same-game parlays far more prominently than most big sportsbooks. However, because the app is so smooth in most places, areas where things are clunky — like player props — stand out.
- App store rating: 4.8 (iOS), 4.7 (Android)
- Key takeaway: No sportsbook app is easier to use than FanDuel.
- Best feature: Same-game parlays
- VA bonus offer: $1,000
6. PointsBet Sportsbook
PointsBet is an Australian sports betting outlet that has made a name for itself in the US the past few years. PointsBet’s main feature is its signature wager, PointsBetting. This upends the standard spread or total bet by determining your payout or loss depending on by how much your bet is right or wrong. This makes it possible to win or lose big. The book might also offer refunds in certain situations involving tough losses. One downside, however, is that it is a bit difficult to find some sports and bets on PointsBet.
- App store rating: 4.7 (iOS), 4.6 (Android)
- Key takeaway: A unique type of wagering that can lead to big return or losses, and there are plenty of options for all the other types of betting, too.
- Best feature: PointsBetting
- VA bonus offer: Up to $2,000 in risk-free bets
7. Unibet Sportsbook
Unibet Sportsbook is part of the Kindred Group and has decades of experience. It is a great place for first-time or newer bettors to start wagering on sports. If you want a ‘training wheels’ site, Unibet could be the one for you. However, it could stand to beef up its promotions.
- App store rating: 2.9 (iOS), 4.3 (Android)
- Key takeaway: A good book if you are new and want to ease into sports betting.
- Best feature: Odds boosts
- VA bonus offer: Risk-free first bet for up to $100
8. Sports Illustrated Sportsbook
SI Sportsbook is a relatively new name on the sports betting scene, with its launch occurring in September 2021. However, it is a rebranded version of 888Sport with an added twist — the connection to the definitive sports magazine. SI Sportsbook has a long list of sports events to choose, especially in terms of in-play wagers. The app is not terribly flashy, though, and is still smoothing out some of the kinks of the new design.
- App rating: 3.7 (iOS), 3.6 (Android)
- Key takeaway: The app offers plenty of betting options and an indelible connection to Sports Illustrated.
- Best feature: Range of markets, including live betting opportunities
- VA bonus offer: Bet $10, Get $80 in Free Bets
Upcoming Virginia sportsbooks
Although there are now a dozen sportsbook apps on the scene in Virginia, the market is not finished expanding yet. State sports betting law allows for up to 18 sportsbook licenses. As we receive information about new books that might be debuting in Old Dominion, we will list them below.
How to get started with best VA sportsbook bonuses
Getting started at an online sportsbook in Virginia is a short procedure. First, head to the sportsbook’s homepage or app, and create an account. Once you’re done with that, you can make a deposit and start betting. Throughout the process, keep an eye out for any bonus offers for new customers. Here are some of the best available at Virginia sportsbooks:
- DraftKings Sportsbook: Make a first deposit to receive a $50 free bet plus 20% up to $1,000 and seasonal event bonus offers.
- Caesars Sportsbook: Use the code LEGALFULL to receive a risk-free bet up to $1,250.
- BetMGM Sportsbook: Use the code PLAYBONUS to receive a risk-free first bet for up to $1,000 plus a free $10 weekly bet.
- BetRivers Sportsbook: Use the code PLAYRIV to receive a 2nd chance free bet up to $500.
- FanDuel Sportsbook: Get a no sweat first bet for up to $1,000.
As you compare bonuses at various Virginia sportsbooks, here is a rundown of some common terms to be aware of:
- No deposit — A no-deposit bonus is usually available only for new players as compensation for signing up for an account. The book provides you with a small amount of bonus funds to try it out essentially for free.
- Risk-free — Risk-free bonuses designate a certain set of wagers or a certain period of time as insured against losses. Refunds generally take the form of credits or free bets that you’ll need to wager again. Like deposit bonuses, the exact percentage and maximum amount of the bonus will vary.
- Loyalty program — A loyalty program awards you points for each wager. You can redeem points for various perks, and as you play more, the benefits improve.
- Odds boost — The sportsbook boosts the odds on certain bets to encourage wagering on those options. The boost is often worth an extra percentage if you win the bet.
10 quick facts about Virginia sports betting
- Sports betting launched in Virginia in January 2021.
- Virginia is one of only a few states to launch as an online-only market.
- Sports betting in the state will not remain just online, though. Casinos are under construction, with plans for retail sportsbooks.
- Virginia law allows for 18 sportsbook licenses.
- The law includes a provision for a relocating sports team to acquire a license.
- Wagering on games involving in-state college teams is illegal.
- State law also prohibits college prop bets.
- You must be 21 or older to bet on sports in Virginia.
- The first retail sportsbook in Virginia will likely open in 2022.
- Of the five cities that Virginia designated as potential casino locations, only Richmond declined to allow a venue inside city limits.
Why legal sportsbooks are best for Virginians
If you are a sports bettor, legal online sportsbooks are the best option if you are in Virginia. The Virginia Lottery oversees each book that’s legal in the state. This means that legal books must meet a number of safety and security requirements, and you always have recourse if you encounter any issues.
Online sportsbooks are also great for bonuses and free bets. Because the competition is a click away, legal books offer incentives to attract customers and keep them happy.
Latest VA sports betting news
Virginia sports betting law and regulations
Virginia sports betting took two legislative sessions to cross the finish line. The process began in 2019 but did not end with an active law until April 2020. The first bets occurred in January 2021. Clarifying legislation that passed a few months later separated casino licenses from online licenses and made it clear that as many as 18 licenses could be available, while also giving the Virginia Lottery the power to permit new betting markets as warranted. The division of sports betting licenses is as follows:
- Twelve online-only licenses.
- Five licenses for retail casinos, but only four casinos are under construction.
- One license for a professional sports team with headquarters in Virginia.
- Additional license(s) reserved for if a professional sports team relocates to Virginia.
Wagering on both professional and college sports is legal in the state. However, it is not legal to place a bet involving in-state college teams. If a tournament (such as March Madness) has Virginia college teams participating, you can bet on games from that tournament that don’t involve in-state college teams. State law also prohibits college prop bets. You must be 21 or older to bet on sports in Virginia.
Here are some other key aspects of Virginia sports betting law:
- Sportsbooks must pay $250,000 for a three-year license.
- Sportsbooks are subject to a 15% tax on revenues.
- Books may deduct promotional expenses, reducing the effective tax rate to around 2.2%.
- Minority applicants receive preference.
Full list of legal Virginia sportsbook sites
There are slots for as many as 18 online sportsbooks in Virginia. So far, 13 have launched in the state. Here is the complete list of legal sports betting sites in Virginia:
- Bally Bet Sportsbook
- Barstool Sportsbook
- BetMGM Sportsbook
- BetRivers Sportsbook
- Betway Sportsbook
- Caesars Sportsbook
- DraftKings Sportsbook
- FanDuel Sportsbook
- Hard Rock Sportsbook
- PointsBet Sportsbook
- Sports Illustrated Sportsbook
- Unibet Sportsbook
- WynnBET Sportsbook
Retail sportsbooks in Virginia
The same law that allowed sports betting included provisions for as many as five land-based casinos in Virginia. The law specified that all five could house retail sportsbooks if they chose. However, the law also required that the designated cities for each casino pass a referendum on the issue before construction could commence.
Four of the cities approved their referenda in November 2020:
- Bristol voters approved the development of a Hard Rock casino. A temporary casino with a sportsbook is open as of July 8, 2022.
- Danville voters approved the development of a Caesars casino.
- Norfolk voters approved the development of a casino by the Pamunkey Indians. No sports betting partner is known yet.
- Portsmouth voters approved the development of a Rush Street casino.
Of the four proposed casinos, three have launched sportsbook apps in the state via their casino sports betting license: Caesars, Hard Rock, and Rush Street (BetRivers.) However, voters in Richmond rejected the placement of a fifth Virginia casino inside city limits. So, there will only be four casino locations in Virginia and four retail sportsbooks in the foreseeable future.
Virginia’s favorite sports and teams for betting
Fandom is largely geographic, and the presence of Washington, DC, just north of Virginia means that’s where many sports allegiances lie. Depending on where you live in the state, other options include teams in North Carolina or Tennessee. Here are the top teams for Virginia sports bettors:
- NFL: Washington Commanders, Tennessee Titans, Carolina Panthers
- NBA: Washington Wizards, Charlotte Hornets, Memphis Grizzlies
- MLB: Washington Nationals, Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles
- NHL: Washington Capitals, Carolina Hurricanes, Nashville Predators
These four leagues are the top draws for Virginia bettors. However, sportsbooks in the state also offer many other options. There are plenty of fans of the DC United (MLS) in the state, for instance.
One event that only recently became available for legal betting is the Olympics. The original language of the law forbade betting on the international tournament. However, subsequent changes to the law since 2020 allow betting on the games.
Virginia sports betting history
Like its neighbor to the west, Virginia was not home to any casinos, cardrooms or any other gambling venues. Even its lone thoroughbred horse racing track had closed five years earlier. The fact that the issue was under consideration in the Virginia General Assembly was surprising enough. That the eventual law also included provisions for land-based casinos cemented Virginia’s status as the state experiencing the biggest paradigm shift in its approach to gambling. Incidentally, the horse track reopened in 2019.
Here’s a quick timeline of events that led to Virginia’s emergence as a gambling and sports betting destination:
2022: After a year, Virginia sportsbooks are booking in excess of $400 million in wagers every month. Meanwhile, lawmakers vote down two versions of bills that would allow wagers involving in-state colleges. Hard Rock Sportsbook debuts at the end of March as the 12th online book to launch in the state.
2021: Sports betting launches in Virginia on Jan. 21. The state joins Tennessee as an online-only sports betting state. The market quickly expands to nine online sportsbooks, including top companies like FanDuel, BetMGM and DraftKings. Two mirror-image bills pass through the Virginia House and Senate to clarify some of the elements of the sports betting law, including that the casinos’ licenses do not count against the 12-sportsbook limit that the law originally established. The citizens of Richmond vote to not allow a casino inside the city, so the number of retail casinos (and sportsbooks) that will appear in Virginia is now capped at four locations.
2020: The study bill indicates a tremendous economic opportunity for Virginia if it allows for sports betting, and many lawmakers now find themselves supporting gambling expansion. A House bill and Senate bill quickly pass through their respective chambers but reach an impasse on their points of difference. After some committee negotiations, a bill passes to Gov. Ralph Northam. Northam adds a few pieces to the bill, including a concession for NASCAR, then sends it back to the Assembly, where lawmakers accept the governor’s changes and allow the bill to become law. In November, voters in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth approve the placement of casinos inside city limits, paving the way for retail sportsbooks to appear in Virginia in the near future.
2019: Although it takes them time, Virginia lawmakers begin discussing sports betting in the 2019 legislative session. The proposals include some provisions for casino elements, too. However, the support is not sufficient for passage, so legislators end up commissioning a bill to study the economics of sports betting in Virginia.
Virginia sports betting FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Virginia?
Yes. Sports betting in Virginia became legal in April 2020 and active in January 2021. This met the timeline state regulators had to launch legal sports betting, which was early in 2021. The state features 14 online sports betting sites, with a plan for retail sportsbooks in the future.
Where can I bet on sports in Virginia?
Anywhere inside state lines when using a sportsbook app, including the two airports that serve Washington, DC. Virginia will not have retail sportsbooks until mid-2022 at the earliest, but the Bristol location has indicated that it plans to include a sportsbook at its temporary facility.
Who oversees sports betting in Virginia?
The Virginia Lottery is responsible for overseeing sports betting. Placing sports betting under lottery oversight is common throughout the US landscape. The lottery took the lead in creating rules and regulations governing the legal sports betting industry for Virginia. It is responsible for reviewing applications from sportsbook operators, as well.
Is mobile sports betting available in Virginia?
Yes. In fact, mobile sports betting in Virginia is the only method available to participate in the short term while new casinos are built in the state. Those casinos will host retail sportsbooks once open.
You do not need to be a resident of Virginia to sign up for an online sports betting account. To place a wager, your smartphone will use geolocation technology to verify that you are located inside Virginia when placing your bet.
Are Bovada and BetOnline legal in Virginia?
No. Bovada, BetOnline and other offshore sportsbooks remain illegitimate options for Virginia bettors. These sites and their ilk are usually based in smaller countries, like Aruba or Costa Rica. Because they are outside the United States, they do not fall under US or state laws and are not bound to conform to the standards by which legal sportsbooks in Virginia must abide. Playing on these outlets opens you up to risks of identity theft and financial mismanagement, and with a dozen legal sportsbooks active in the state, there’s little reason to take those risks.
How old do I have to be to bet on sports in Virginia?
You must be 21 or older to legally bet on sports in Virginia.
Is horse betting legal in Virginia?
Yes. There is a live thoroughbred racing track at Colonial Downs and a harness racing track at Shenandoah Downs. Both venues offer pari-mutuel wagering on their races. Virginians can also use various online horse betting sites. Sites like TVG and TwinSpires have all the same features that a live horse betting location would offer.
Colonial Downs and its half-dozen affiliated off-track betting locations are also hubs for historical horse racing machines. These machines resemble slots, but they use the outcomes of past (unknown to the player) horse races to generate results. HHR machines have reinvigorated both the locations where the machines are and interest in Virginia horse betting. Colonial Downs likely reopened, in part, due to the increased revenue that these machines provide.
Can I play daily fantasy sports in VA?
Yes, daily fantasy sports contests are legal and available for play in Virginia. In fact, Virginia was the first state to legalize DFS play. Top DFS providers such as DraftKings and FanDuel have operated in Virginia since 2016.