Virginia sports betting officially went live in January 2021 after the state legalized betting in 2020.
At the start, sports betting in Virginia will take place via mobile and online sportsbook apps, which have become increasingly popular through the legal US sports betting market.
FanDuel Sportsbook launched the first app through a partnership with the Washington Football Team.
More sports betting apps are in the approval process in Virginia. DraftKings Sportsbook is licensed and live, and BetMGM and BetRivers began operation in January 2021 as well. William Hill joins the market in February 2020.
Here is more of what you need to know about Virginia sports betting.
Virginia sports betting now live in 2021
Legal Virginia online sports betting
Virginia sports betting became legal in April 2020, when the Virginia state legislature passed a sports betting bill.
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.
The state lottery oversees VA sports betting. Regulations are already in place, and more than two dozen sportsbooks have applied to operate in the state. There could be up to a dozen apps available throughout Virginia eventually.
Best Virginia sportsbook apps
State law mandates that there will be a minimum of four and a maximum of 12 VA sportsbook apps available.
FanDuel Sportsbook launched first, and DraftKings Sportsbook, BetMGM, BetRivers, and William Hill followed closely. Many more sportsbooks will offer sports betting apps in Virginia. 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.
Here’s some more information on some of the biggest sportsbooks that will likely find their way into Virginia:
DraftKings, a leader in both daily fantasy sports and sports betting in the US, has been aggressive about getting into every state possible, and it went live in the state in January 2021.
If you’re a new bettor, you can receive $50 free, plus up to an addition $1,000 in bonus offers.
FanDuel is the current US leader among all sportsbooks in terms of amount wagered, Virginia is an obvious choice for the FanDuel sports betting app. The app provides weekly promotions, daily odds boosts and a live betting tool.
Bettors in the state get up to a $1,000 risk-free bet upon a first deposit.
The sportsbook from MGM Resorts International has been similarly aggressive entering every online sports betting state it can. It will not have a brick-and-mortar casino in the state, but does have one in neighboring Maryland. MGM started its app in January 2021.
Bettors should get a deposit match bonus of up to $500, based on what MGM does in other states.
BetRivers parent Rush Street Interactive partnered with the upcoming Rivers Casino Portsmouth to launch sports betting in Virginia. The brick-and-mortar casino will come later but the mobile platform is available now.
Bettors should be able to access a bonus offer comparable to that available in other states.
William Hill Sportsbook
Caesars will build the casino in Danville; Caesars is also buying William Hill. One plus one equals a VA sportsbook from William Hill, a big operator in Nevada and the UK, with a growing footprint around the US.
William Hill offers up to a $500 free bet on a first deposit in many other states.
Virginia sportsbooks at casinos
As Virginia sports betting launches, there aren’t any physical sportsbooks. Part of the reason why? Virginia casinos were approved in 2020 referendums and will be built in the coming years. And there should be sportsbooks at those casinos eventually.
There could also be physical sportsbooks at sporting venues, like Virginia’s two auto racing tracks.
Latest VA sports betting news
How to start betting in Virginia
Even before Virginia sportsbooks go live, we can tell you generally how you get started betting at legal apps.
- Decide which app or apps you want to try. In Virginia you should have no shortage of options.
- Download the sportsbook app of your choice. Sportsbooks generally have options for both iPhones and Android devices.
- Sign up for an account. The registration process will usually include giving your name, address and the last four digits of your Social Security number to verify you are who you say you are, and that you are of age — 21 years or older to bet in Virginia.
- Fund your account. There are usually a number of ways to fund accounts, from online banking transfers to pre-paid cards.
From there you just start using the app and find the bets you want to make. You will have a wide variety of choices of what you can bet on once you get started.
Depositing and withdrawing at Virginia sportsbooks
The methods for funding your account will vary by the sportsbook you use. But here are the common ones that bettors employ at most online sportsbooks:
- Online banking
- Electronic Check
- Pre-paid cards
- PayNearMe (funding method at 7-Eleven and select other stores)
- Credit cards
- Debit cards
Although a credit card may seem like a good option, they are also more likely not to work than the other methods. So you might want to start with something other than a credit card.
Live betting options in Virginia
One of the most interesting things about states that allow online betting like Virginia does is the option for live betting, or in-game.
While most people associated sports wagering with bets that are placed before a game begins, a growing part of the betting industry is betting while the games are going on.
Virginia sportsbook apps will offer a wide variety of live betting markets that are updates throughout the game, such as:
- Points spreads
- Over-under point totals
- Results of a quarter or a half
- Proposition bets on player performance
Sportsbook promos and bonuses in Virginia
With a competitive online sportsbook market, the companies will be doing everything they can to attract bettors’ attention. The early days for legal sports betting are usually the best time for bettors to take advantage of these offers. Companies are trying to carve about marketshare early and will often be aggressive with their offers.
What might you find?
- Risk-free bets: Upon a first depoosit, a bettor will get a free bet often of equal value. You can use that bet to place a wager. Win, and you win as normal. Lose, and you get your bet back in the form of credit on the sportsbook to be used for future wagers.
- Deposit match bonuses: This bonus lets a user get money added to their account for betting, up to the amount of the deposit. (There’s usually a cap on the amount.) The money can’t be immediately withdrawn but can be used for wagers. Once a bettor has met the playthrough requirement — this is different at every book — the money can be withdrawn. That’s assuming of course that the bettor won some amount of the bonus bets.
- No-deposit bonuses: Not ready to deposit? Some sportsbooks will give you a small amount of money just for trying them out. The money can’t just be withdrawn and must be wagered.
- Odds boosts: These are offers that make the odds more favorable to the bettor, and are often avaialable for either a first-time depositor or an existing bettor. Sometimes the odds boosts amount to slight changes that are attractive for betting. Sometimes sportsbooks will use these to give out free money, like offering a point spread of 100 points that a team must cover, a guaranteed win for the bettor.
Virginia sports betting law
Virginia will have at least four sportsbook apps but no more than a dozen at first. State legislators also approved up to five new casinos in the same bill.
Those casinos would be in addition to the 12 potential Virginia sports betting licenses..
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:
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 revenue
There are a lot of unknowns in forecasting how much Virginia may see in wagers and revenue from sports betting. But it should be a robust market will billions of dollars in wagers annually.
Virginia is closest in size to New Jersey, a state that is likely to eclipse $1 billion in wagers in some months in the not-too-distant future. In any event, the state could eventually see just south of $10 billion in handle annually, and hundreds of millions in operator revenue and tens of millions in revenue for the commonwealth.
Here is where LSR tracks all US sports betting revenue.
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.
Most popular sports to bet 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 FAQ
Is sports betting legal in Virginia?
Yes. Sports betting in Virginia became legal in April 2020 and you can place a legal sports bet in Virginia as of January 2021.
This met the timeline state regulators had to launch legal sports betting in Virginia early in 2021. VA sports betting will take place primarily via sportsbooks apps on your smartphone device.
Who oversees sports betting in Virginia?
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 are able to bet on sports from anywhere within the state borders of Virginia.
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.