Sports betting in Virginia began in January 2021 with what was a somewhat befuddling set of circumstances. Delays and false launch dates kept legalized wagering from launching in 2020, a year in which Virginia voters approved a ballot measure for the construction of four casinos in the state.
Virginia’s foray into legalized gambling has been a rather clumsy process. Sports betting was approved on July 1, 2020 and the Virginia Lottery began taking applications in late September for the online and mobile vendors that were looking to begin operations in the state. The New Year rolled around and Virginia’s “Coming Soon” became an “Is It Really?”
Nevertheless, sports betting did launch in Virginia in January 2021 and those hiccups and hindrances are now a thing of the past. Virginia launched as an all online and mobile sports betting state because there were no retail gaming facilities. Retail sportsbooks will be completed at casinos in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, and Portsmouth. At the time of the vote, Virginia was one of 10 states without a casino. Those properties are expected to be done in late 2021 or early 2022. Richmond will vote on a casino referendum in November 2021.
Online sports betting is the first real expansion of gaming in Virginia. Virtually surrounded by other states that either have legal betting or will in the near future, it was a necessary maneuver by the state’s lawmakers and elected officials to put together sports betting framework. The Virginia General Assembly did that in March 2020 and sent it to the governor’s desk for approval.
The Virginia Lottery Commission is the governing body, even as a new Casino Commission will have to be created to oversee the new casinos. Unlike other states with the lottery in charge, however, Virginia is an open market with a lot of different licenses up for grabs. That means a really competitive environment and a great spot for some of the best US sportsbooks.
BetMGM Sportsbook – BetMGM Sportsbook is known around the world as a global leader in gaming because of a presence with resort and casino properties in a variety of countries. As far as MGM’s reach in the United States, they are approaching 10 states with sports betting and have casino properties in several more states. A competitive deposit bonus and really fair odds are two of the highlights of this top-rated sportsbook.
BetRivers Sportsbook – BetRivers Sportsbook doesn’t have as big of a reach as some of the other companies, but highly regarded by bettors that use them to place wagers. BetRivers has a clean, professional look and one of the top live betting clients with software support from Rush Street Interactive. This is a really great introductory app for those that don’t want to be overwhelmed by all of the things happening with the titans of the sports betting world.
DraftKings Sportsbook – DraftKings is obviously a household name. Recently, they’ve added Sportsbook to the end to become one of the nation’s top places to bet on sports. The developmental days on the DFS were all leading up to this and a lot of brand power, marketing, and promotion have boosted DraftKings to be one of the industry’s leading betting apps.
FanDuel Sportsbook – FanDuel is the industry’s leading betting app with a large part of the market share in every state that FanDuel Sportsbook exists. This is a professional, easy-on-the-eyes, all-encompassing hub for sports betting that users rave about. Brand loyalty is a big deal in this business and with even stronger bonus offers from some of their competitors, FanDuel still stands out above the crowd.
William Hill Sportsbook – William Hill US got much bigger with the Eldorado Resorts acquisition of the Caesars Entertainment family of properties. That merger meant that William Hill would take over the Caesars sports betting brand to expand their reach in the legal US betting market. You can bet with confidence at a place like William Hill, which has been in operation in London since 1934 and in the US since 2012. Remember, we’ve only had legal betting outside of Nevada since May 2018.
Signing up to bet on sports in Virginia is about as easy as it gets. When Virginia approved sports betting in July 2020, casinos weren’t even a thing in the state. A casino referendum passed on the November 2020 ballot, but those were nowhere close to constructed when legal sports betting launched in January 2021.
Virginia is a Remote Registration state, which means that you can bet on sports from anywhere inside the state borders. You can sign up from anywhere and you can bet from anywhere on your mobile device or online on the sportsbook’s website.
That means that as long as you are in Virginia, even if you don’t live in Virginia, you can bet on sports if you have an active account. Geolocation technology will confirm your physical location and grant you access to placing bets.
For more, check out our How to Bet on Sports in Virginia article that goes into deeper detail.
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It was a little bit surprising that Virginia would take on sports betting, but the Virginia General Assembly sent legislation to the governor’s desk and it was approved in the Commonwealth on July 1, 2020. With no gaming infrastructure in place, it fell under the purview of the Virginia Lottery Corporation to oversee the issuing of licenses and to work with the government on the framework of betting.
Fortunately, Virginia had help in the process from Tennessee, a state that also had no retail gaming locations. Virginia was to launch as just the second all-mobile, all-online legal sports betting state, following in the footsteps of Tennessee, which launched on November 1, 2020.
By being surrounded by legal sports betting states on all sides, it was important for Virginia lawmakers to keep the money at home, so they pushed forward, even though expansions of gaming had really fallen on deaf ears for a long period of time. All it took was little push and now Virginia has sports betting and will have casinos later in 2021 or early 2022 after a casino referendum was passed during the November 2020 election.
Ironically, Virginia, up until the ball got rolling on sports betting, was one of 10 states without an operating casino. Sports betting seems to have been the gateway for change and it makes a ton of sense, seeing as how up to 17 sports betting licenses are available in what will be a very open market. It was only a matter of time until casinos were added, particularly as states seek out additional ways of generating tax revenue in what we all hope will be a post-pandemic era sooner rather than later.