Virginia Online Sports Betting

Virginia sports betting is here. The first online sports betting app in Virginia launched on January 21, 2021. FanDuel Virginia announced its presence in Virginia as the first sportsbook to debut while DraftKings Sportsbook became the second on January 24, 2021. 

State lawmakers passed a package of bills legalizing sports betting in the Old Dominion in July 2020. Governor Ralph Northam’s signature on those bills capped off several years of efforts from legal gambling advocates in the state.

Virginia’s sports betting laws allow for up to 12 online sports betting operator licenses. These licenses to offer mobile sports betting will go to brands approved by the Virginia Lottery.

At least four of those licenses will function as strictly mobile sportsbooks, not tied into a partnership with a land-based casino.

The other licenses could see Virginia’s planned land-based casinos launch online sports betting. A November public vote approved the construction of casinos in four Virginia cities.

Virginia’s upcoming sports betting launch will likely draw the industry’s biggest brands to the state.

Virginia Online Sportsbooks – Who is Live Now

FanDuel Virginia Sportsbook

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Like its biggest rival, DraftKings, FanDuel is one of the brands leading the charge in the US mobile sports betting boom. The company expanded from fantasy sports into sports betting and online casino gaming over the last two years, becoming one of the biggest sports wagering brands in the US in the process.

FanDuel operates an online sportsbook in almost a dozen states. The FanDuel launch in Virginia happened just a day before its launch in Michigan. 

FanDuel teams with land-based casinos to offer online sports betting in most states. Virginia laws allow FanDuel Sportsbook to operate with a casino license partner, or as an online-only app. In the end, FanDuel partnered with the Washington Football Team, which plays in Maryland but is headquartered in Virginia. This partnership allowed it a leg up in launch order over other sportsbooks who will most likely have online-only licenses. 

Regardless of licensing, the first bet was placed on FanDuel Virginia on January 21, 2021, a momentous day for Virginia bettors.

DraftKings Sportsbook

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Whether it’s as a standalone mobile app, or as a license partner of a land-based casino, DraftKings Sportsbook launched in Virginia on January 24, 2021. Since expanding into sports betting in 2018, DraftKings has emerged as one of the biggest brands in the legal US sports wagering market.

DraftKings Sportsbook offers legal wagering in eleven states. The platform offers one of the most robust menus of sports and ways to bet on any mobile sportsbook in the US market.

Virginia’s Online Sportsbooks: What Brands Are On The Way?

Virginia received 25 license applications in 2020, with only 12 online-only licenses available. The Virginia Lottery was tight-lipped about who applied. Local news has reported that some of the potential Virginia sports betting apps could be from BetMGM, WynnBet, or Barstool.

BetMGM and BetRivers are often first to market in many states. WynnBet and Barstoool Sportsbook don’t have the same kind of history but were among the first apps to launch in Michigan on January 22, 2021, the day after the Virginia launch.

BetRivers Sportsbook

The BetRivers name comes from the Rivers Casino brand, owned by Rush Street Interactive. BetRivers isn’t just limited to states that host a land-based Rivers Casino property, however.

The BetRivers online sportsbook and casino app operates in several states, and Virginia will likely be added to that list at some point. Rush Street Interactive is expected to open a land-based casino in Virginia, and the BetRivers online sportsbook will almost certainly follow.

BetRivers has proven a worthy competitor in the legal online sports betting market across the US and could be one of the most popular platforms in the Virginia market.

William Hill

Another sports betting brand with a natural tie-in to the Virginia market, William Hill operates as one of the most recognizable names in the industry. William Hill US offers both retail and mobile sports betting in many US states.

Caesars Entertainment, the parent company to William Hill, is expected to construct a land-based casino in one of Virginia’s four voter-approved cities.

That property is a virtual lock to include both a land-based version of William Hill Sportsbook, as well as a mobile app. The app will allow wagering from anywhere within the state.

Guide To Online Sports Betting In Virginia

Bonuses Available At Online Sportsbooks

The launch of online sports betting in Virginia marks the start of an industry that should offer a dozen different online sportsbooks at some point.

Each of the different platforms on the way to Virginia will offer welcome bonuses for new players. Some of the most common welcome offers seen at legal online sportsbooks include the following:

Deposit Match Bonuses

A deposit match bonus takes your first deposit at an online sportsbook and matches a percentage of it with bonus betting credits.

At BetRivers, for example, new players get a 100% deposit match bonus up to $250. With this bonus, you’ll earn bonus betting credits equal to the amount of your first deposit, up to $250.

Risk-Free Bets

A risk-free bet offers a rebate on your first bet (or sometimes multiple bets) made at a mobile sportsbook. The rebate is only awarded if the bet you apply the bonus to results in a loss.

At FanDuel Sportsbook, for instance, new players can enjoy a risk-free bet up to $1,000 after making an initial deposit. That offer allows you to make your first bet, up to $1,000, with no risk of losing.

No-Deposit Bonuses

A no-deposit bonus represents the most player-friendly offer of any welcome promotion on this list. This kind of bonus simply puts free betting credits in your player balance, just for signing up at a sportsbook.

Several of Virginia’s upcoming mobile sportsbooks will likely offer no-deposit launch bonuses, giving players free bets if they sign up before the mobile sportsbook goes live.

Virginia’s Local Sports Teams

Virginia doesn’t host any teams from the four major US sports leagues, but it’s proximity to Washington DC makes the Old Dominion State one of the most passionate professional sports fan bases in the US.

All major domestic sports will be open for betting at Virginia’s online sportsbooks when the industry goes live. This includes professional sports teams in both Washington DC and Maryland, such as the Baltimore Ravens and Baltimore Orioles

Wagering on Virginia’s college programs, however, isn’t permitted under Virginia’s sports betting laws. College programs like the Virginia Cavaliers and Virginia Tech Hokies will not appear on the menus of Virginia’s mobile sportsbooks.

Even without having local in-state teams, Virginia bettors will be able to bet on all major domestic and international sporting events, including the Super Bowl, World Series, and March Madness. Although Virginia bettors will be prohibited from betting on Virginia college teams playing in March Madness, they can bet on the Hoyas and the Terrapins. The same goes for NCAA championship games.

Washington DC Pro Sports Teams

Football represents the most popular sport for wagering in the US. The Washington Football Team enjoys a rabid fanbase in Virginia, backed up by three Super Bowl Championships and 24 playoff appearances in its nearly century-long history. 

FanDuel partnered with the Washington Football team to launch to FanDuel Virginia app. It is expected the Washington Football Team will promote the FanDuel site. It is also rumored that this partnership was a sign of goodwill on behalf of the team as they consider a potential move to Virginia.

The Washington Nationals of MLB brought a World Series championship to Washington DC in 2019. Since moving to the District of Colombia from Montreal in 2005, the Nationals stand as one of Virginia’s favorite sports franchises.

The NBA’s Washington Wizards and NHL’s Washington Capitals round out the lineup of Washington DC sports franchises. The nation’s capital is one of the few markets in the US with a team in all four major sports leagues.

Is Esports Betting Legal In Virginia?

The legal status of betting on esports varies significantly from state to state. Several states with legalized sports wagering don’t offer specific language on esports wagering in their sports betting bills.

Virginia’s sports betting laws, however, do permit betting on esports. Esports are rapidly growing in popularity for both spectators and bettors, and Virginia’s legal mobile sportsbooks are permitted to offer wagering on esports contests.

Sports Betting: Legal Versus Illegal

With up to a dozen legal online sportsbooks set to enter the Virginia market, illegal bookies and offshore gambling sites now take a backseat to their regulated, legal counterparts.

Virginia’s online sportsbooks will operate under the regulation of the Virginia Lottery, a state-level government agency. The Virginia Lottery’s role in the state’s sports wagering industry is to ensure fair practice, prompt payouts, and a secure player experience from Virginia’s mobile sports betting products.

All approved online sportsbooks in Virginia will bear the seal of approval from the Virginia Lottery. The sure way to tell that you’re playing at a state-regulated, legal sportsbook is to look for this mark on the homepage of a mobile sports betting website.

Drawbacks Of Illegal Bookmakers

Offshore betting platforms, on the other hand, won’t display the seal of approval from the Virginia Lottery or any other US gaming regulation agency. Offshore sites often function without having to answer to any gaming regulatory body.

With this in mind, it’s important to understand that offshore betting sites have no legal obligation to pay your winning when you try to cash out. When you deposit at an offshore sportsbook, you might never see that money again.

Legal sportsbooks, on the other hand, must provide prompt and fair payouts under Virginia law. In states with legal online sports betting, wagering at mobile sportsbooks provided the same level of security as playing at a legal land-based casino.

How Do I Know That Online Sportsbooks Are Fair?

Regulated By The Virginia Lottery

All states with legalized gambling operate with one or more government regulatory agencies in place. Virginia’s upcoming sportsbooks will fall under the oversight of the Virginia Lottery.

Virginia becomes one of several states in which the state lottery regulates all aspects of legal gambling within the state. Other states using this setup include West Virginia and Delaware.

The Virginia Lottery launched in 1988, and functions as a state-level government gaming agency. When sports betting eventually goes live in Virginia, players can wager knowing that state-regulated sportsbooks are overseen and regularly audited by the Virginia Lottery.

Why Can I Trust Legal Online Sportsbooks?

The imminent launch of legal sports betting brings the world’s top sportsbook brands to the Michigan market. Multi-billion-dollar companies like DraftKings, FanDuel, and William Hill will all compete for a piece of what will likely become a flourishing mobile sports betting market.

Other brands likely to operate in Virginia include BetRivers, BetMGM, PointsBet, FOX Bet, and several others. All of these companies operate in multiple states and in some cases overseas.

As such, these legal sports betting brands conduct business as some of the most trusted companies in the legal gambling industry. Brands like DraftKings and FanDuel function with a keen interest in upholding their reputations as the world’s most trusted sports betting brands.

Virginia’s legal mobile sportsbooks will use the highest level of security measures to protect player funds and personal information. Anything less could result in a major loss of trust for these giants in the legal gambling sphere.

How Do Online Sportsbooks Pay Me If I Win?

Virginia’s online sports betting platforms will offer several convenient ways to cash out from your account. Registering for an account, depositing funds, wagering on sports, and withdrawing after you win can all be accomplished remotely.

Withdrawal methods include options like ACH/eCheck and online bank transfer, each of which involves a direct transaction from your player balance to your bank account. Most major banks facilitate transactions to and from legal sportsbooks.

PayPal presents one of the most secure options for both deposits and withdrawals. Many online sportsbooks offer a house-branded version of the Play+ Prepaid card, which links directly to your mobile sportsbook account.

Other withdrawal options include Skrill, wire transfer, and even (as a last resort) check by mail. Most of these options take 2-5 business days for the money to appear in your bank account.

Virginia Mobile Sports Betting FAQ

What kind of sports bets are legal in Virginia?

All major domestic and international professional sports can legally be wagered on from Virginia’s legal online sportsbooks. The selection of leagues might vary across different brands, but Virginia law allows mobile sportsbooks to offer all professional sports leagues.

Betting on Virginia-based college programs, however, is prohibited. State laws restrict wagering on programs like the Virginia Cavaliers and Virginia Tech Hokies.

 

Can I bet on college sports in Virginia?

Yes, but betting on Virginia’s college programs is illegal. You won’t find any available betting markets for in-state programs at Virginia’s legal mobile sportsbooks.

Betting on all other college sports teams is legal, however. The only exceptions to this are in-game betting and player prop bets on college contests, which are illegal under state law.

Can I bet on esports in Virginia?

Yes. The package of bills outlining Virginia’s sports betting regulations contain language allowing esports wagering.

Virginia’s sportsbooks can choose whether or not to include esports as available betting markets. The undeniable popularity of esports makes it highly likely that Virginia’s sportsbooks will offer esports markets.

What is the tax rate for online sports betting in Virginia?

15%. All Virginia sportsbooks, both online and land-based, will have revenue taxed at 15% from the state. Potential operators will also pay a $250,000 licensing fee every three years. These tax rates only apply to sportsbook operators. Sports bettors also need to pay both Federal and state tax on any winnings, in accordance with tax laws.

Who can apply to operate an online sportsbook in Virginia?

The Virginia Lottery will approve up to 12 sportsbook operators. Four of those licenses will go to online-only operators, not connected to any land-based casino.

All other licenses can be applied for by land-based casinos and racetracks, or by other online-only operators. This outline for the Virginia sports betting market will likely bring brands like DraftKings, FanDuel, BetRivers, and William Hill to the state.

Is DraftKings Sportsbook coming to Virginia?

In all likelihood, yes. Virginia’s licensing laws allow DraftKings to either partner with a land-based casino or function as an online-only operator.

DraftKings Sportsbook continues to rapidly expand across the US, and Virginia will almost certainly include DraftKings among its legal sports betting offerings.

Is FanDuel Sportsbook coming to Virginia?

Yes. FanDuel was the first Virginia sportsbook to announce its debut in the Commonwealth. FanDuel Sportsbook maintains a presence in virtually every legal mobile sports betting market in the US. Virginia was the next logical step in FanDuel’s expansion efforts. 

About the Author

Geoffrey Fisk

Geoff Fisk is a San Diego-based freelance writer, specializing in the poker and gambling industries. He’s written for numerous platforms and has traveled the globe as a live poker tournament reporter. Geoff’s interests include the legal online poker industry in the U.S. and abroad.