Legal Sports Report

Virginia Sports Betting

Virginia sports betting could launch before the end of the year after the state became the second to legalize sportsbooks in 2020.

Sports betting in Virginia will take place exclusively via mobile and online sportsbook apps, which have proved increasingly popular through the legal US sports betting market.

Here is more of what you need to know about Virginia sports betting:

VA sports betting basics

Virginia sports betting became legal in April 2020. The Virginia state legislature passed a sports betting bill that should lead to VA sportsbook apps going live by the end of 2020,

Betting on sports in Virginia eventually will become available from anywhere within the borders of the state. Mobile VA sports betting on smartphones will allow bettors to sign up for and fund accounts through apps on your device.

You do not need to live in Virginia to bet on sports in the state. You will, however, need to be physically located in the state to place a wager legally.

State regulators still must draft rules and regulations that will govern how sportsbooks operate throughout Virginia. That process will begin in the summer of 2020 and continue for a couple of months.

The state lottery, which will oversee VA sports betting, said in May that mid-to-late December 2020 is the earliest possible launch date.

Virginia sports betting approval

State representatives and Gov. Ralph Northam signed off on legal sports betting in Virginia after a two-year process of study and legislation. The legislature approved a study bill in 2019 before taking up the issue again in 2020.

Legislators needed until the final days of the 2020 legislative session to push through a VA sports betting bill. Northam then sent back changes that legislators accepted in a veto session, bringing sports betting to Virginia.

Latest VA sports betting news

Virginia sportsbook apps

State law mandates that there will be a minimum of four and a maximum of 12 VA sportsbook apps available.

It is unknown which sportsbooks will offer sports betting apps in Virginia but many of these brands are participating in new markets throughout the US legal market:

Generally speaking, more sportsbooks in a given state lead to a better market. Competition to gain customers often leads to sportsbooks offering better signup offers and promo codes. These can include free bets or deposit matches, ranging from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars.

This is not necessarily a complete list of potential VA sportsbooks. Your smartphone device will use geolocation technology to verify that you are within Virginia before allowing you to bet with these sportsbook apps.

What’s in the Virginia sports betting law?

Virginia will have at least four sportsbook apps but no more than a dozen. State legislators also approved up to five new casinos in the same bill.

Those casinos could take up to five of the 12 potential Virginia sports betting licenses, reducing the number of operators untethered to a physical location.

An interesting part of the VA sports betting law allows for wagering at a major-league stadium yet to be built in the state. Daniel Snyder, owner of Washington D.C.’s NFL team, lobbied Virginia and Maryland lawmakers in 2020 to include in-stadium sports betting in the law, with the lure of the team eventually building a new stadium in one of the states.

The law covers any major-league team in the following sports:

  • NFL
  • NBA
  • MLB
  • NHL
  • NASCAR

Betting on Virginia’s NCAA college teams will not be allowed under the new law. That will not apply to tournaments involving Virginia teams in which other college basketball teams are participating.

Virginia sports betting FAQ

Is sports betting legal in Virginia?

Yes. Sports betting in Virginia became legal in April 2020. You cannot place a legal sports bet in Virginia quite yet, though.

State regulators hope to launch legal sports betting in Virginia before the end of 2020. VA sports betting will take place primarily via sportsbooks apps on your smartphone device. 

Who oversees VA sports betting?

The Virginia Lottery will be responsible for overseeing the new Virginia sports betting industry. Placing sports betting under lottery oversight is common throughout the US sports betting landscape.

The lottery will take the lead on creating rules and regulations to govern the VA sports betting industry. It also will be responsible for reviewing applications from sportsbook operators who want to launch sports betting apps in Virginia.

Where can I bet on sports in Virginia?

You will be able to bet on sports from anywhere within the state borders of Virginia once apps go live later in 2020.

VA sportsbook apps on your smartphone will make it possible to sign up sports betting accounts and wager on sports from your home or anywhere else.

Is mobile sports betting in Virginia available?

Yes. In fact, mobile sports betting in Virginia will be the only method available to participate. To bet on sports in Virginia, it will be necessary to download a sportsbook app and sign up for an account.

You do not need to be a resident of Virginia to sign up for a VA 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.

You will not be allowed to place a bet on a VA sports betting app if you are not located in Virginia.

Who can apply for a Virginia sports betting license?

Any sportsbook operator can apply for a Virginia sports betting license. There will be at least four licenses available, although state regulators can increase that to as many as 12.

A license to run sports betting in Virginia will cost $250,000 and be good for three years. Applicants also must pay a fee for a background check for all key members of their operation, which could cost as much as $50,000 per person.

How old do I have to be to bet on sports in Virginia?

The legal age for sports betting in Virginia is 21 years old.

Betting on pro sports teams in Virginia

The four major professional sports along with college football account for the bulk of wagers at legal US sportsbooks. No professional sports teams play their home games in Virginia at the present time.

Here’s what betting on those four leagues could look like once sports betting in Virginia gets started:

NFL betting in Virginia

Wagering on the NFL is big business in the United States, and Virginia should prove no different. NFL betting, especially on the Super Bowl, drives revenue for most sportsbooks.

The Washington Redskins of the NFC East division play their home game in nearby Landover, MD. The Baltimore Ravens of the AFC South division also play nearby in Maryland.

The team’s practice facility and headquarters is located in Virginia, though, and Snyder eventually might build a new stadium in the state. Some areas of Virginia are not far from neighboring North Carolina, where the Charlotte Panthers of the NFC South division play.

MLB betting in Virginia

Betting on Major League Baseball sustains many sportsbooks throughout the summer months. Many days in summer, MLB games make up the overwhelming majority of available wagers in US sportsbooks.

The closest nearby teams to Virginia are the Washington Nationals of the National League East division and the Baltimore Orioles of the American League East division. Fans of both teams in Virginia should make them the most popular baseball betting options.

NBA betting in Virginia

There are no NBA teams that play in Virginia but that should not stop bettors from enjoying action on pro basketball throughout the season. In fact, NBA basketball is one of the more popular choices for live and in-play wagering because of the rapid nature of the game.

The Washington Wizards and the Charlotte Hornets of the NBA’s Eastern Conference both play in neighboring states to Virginia. NBA wagering on these teams should prove strong once Virginia sports betting launches.

NHL betting in Virginia

While no NHL teams play professional hockey in the state of Virginia, nearby teams will provide options for fans. Betting on hockey does not generate enormous handle nationally, but the sport is popular in this area of the country.

The Washington Capitals of the NHL’s Metropolitan Division and the Carolina Hurricanes of the Atlantic Division likely will garner the most local betting attention. The Capitals in particular enjoy a strong fan base after winning the Stanley Cup in 2018.

MLS betting in Virginia

Soccer betting enjoys more support for the international game including the English Premier League (EPL) and major championships like the UEFA Champions League.

DC United of Major League Soccer is the closest professional soccer team to the Virginia region.

Virginia sports betting history

How did sports betting come to Virginia? Here’s a look back at the timeline leading to the start:

2020: Getting across the finish line

Following a 2019 study that showed significant revenue potential for mobile VA sports betting, legislators again took up the cause of legalizing in Virginia.

Mirroring bills in the state House and Senate made quick progress through the chambers. The houses, though, ultimately passed different versions of sports betting legislation and the matter went to a conference committee to sort out differences.

That conference committee took until the last possible moment in Virginia’s short legislative session to produce a compromise bill. That bill escaped the legislature in time to get to Gov. Ralph Northam.

Northam sent back the bill with changes including concessions to NASCAR and additional licensure feeds in the form of background checks. The House and Senate approved these changes during a one-day veto session in April 2020.

The Virginia sports betting bill features online wagering, as well as the required use of official league data to settle in-play bets.

2019: Virginia comes close but stops short

Virginia made its first foray into attempting to legalize sports betting in the Commonwealth in the first year after it became legal following the fall of the federal sports betting ban. After the repeal of PASPA by the Supreme Court, Virginia legislators attempted to approve sports betting, as well as some other casino-related items.

That effort produced some momentum and industry insiders thought Virginia sports betting could be one of the first to pass in 2019. That progress stalled though and the legislature settled for a study bill that took a deeper look into whether to legalize VA sports betting.

 

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