While Virginia is currently one of just a few states with no brick-and-mortar casinos or sportsbooks, that’s officially about to change. In November 2020, Virginians voted to legalize both online and in-person sports betting. Virginia land based sportsbooks will start to open as early 2022 while online sports betting apps will launch in January 2021.
That means at least four cities in Virginia will soon have at least one full-sized casino that includes a retail sportsbook. And so far, two retail locations are all but assured, and 25 companies have applied for online sportsbook licenses.
Here’s everything you need to know about the future of Virginia’s in-person, retail sportsbooks.
Land Based Sportsbooks Coming To Virginia
Hard Rock Bristol Resort and Casino (Expected Early 2022)
Voters in Bristol, Virginia, voted to allow a land-based casino and sportsbook in their city. And a Hard Rock Casino is already slated to come to town at 500 Gate City Hwy.
The project is being financed by Hard Rock Cafe, Inc. as well as the local investment giants Jim McGlothlin of United Company and Clyde Stacy of Par Ventures.
Because Bristol is considered the “Birthplace of Country Music” (hence the similarly named Museum), the Hard Rock seems an apt choice for a casino and sportsbook.
Norfolk Resort Casino (Expected Early 2022)
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe will open a casino and sportsbook on the banks of the Elizabeth River. It’s a section of property they’ve owned since January 2020, but now that folks in Norfolk voted to host a casino and sportsbook, the more than 13 acres of riverfront land is ready for construction.
The Norfolk Resort Casino is set to become one of the most popular gambling outlets in the state due to its proximity to Richmond as well as vacation-destination Virginia Beach.
On top of the excitement of a casino situated in the heart of town, it should generate 1,300 permanent new jobs and millions in tax revenue. To keep with the gambling theme, that seems like a clear-cut case of a win-win.
Horseshoe Danville (Expected Early 2022)
Caesars Entertainment is set to build a Horseshoe Branded casino in Danville, Virginia, and this too is expected to bring in upwards of 1,300 new permanent jobs.
By the way, that job market increase doesn’t include the hundreds of construction jobs, which could be as high as 1,600 or more.
On top of the betting action at Horseshoe Danville Casino and Sportsbook, this will be a major entertainment venue as well, which should attract some of the biggest acts in the world.
Rivers Casino Portsmouth (Expected 2023)
The Rush Street Gaming casino and sportsbook project in Portsmouth, Virginia, will likely be the last of these four locations to complete construction, as they’ll need to wait a while for a license, then construct the property.
While the rest of the casinos and sportsbooks are projected to open by Spring 2022 (or possibly even sooner), the folks in charge of Rivers Casino Portsmouth are projecting a launch sometime in 2023.
Luckily, you can get from Portsmouth to Norfolk in a matter of minutes by car, and it’s often a walkable distance. So Portsmouth residents can enjoy Norfolk Resort Casino long before Rivers Casino opens.
Retail Sportsbooks Near Virginia
MGM National Harbor In Maryland (Sportsbook Coming Soon)
Like Virginia, Maryland residents overwhelmingly voted in support of legalizing sports betting in the state.
But unlike Virginia, Maryland already had some land-based casinos, which means they’ll open sportsbooks on-site well over a year before the first Virginia casinos open their doors.
Located two hours from Richmond and within the Washington metropolitan area, the MGM National Harbor in Maryland is one of the most popular casinos among Virginians. And it’s already eyeing the opening of a sportsbook within its existing casino.
Capital One Arena in Washington, DC
Washington, DC legalized sports betting relatively recently. And in late July 2020, a makeshift William Hill retail sportsbook opened in Capital One Arena, which is home to the NBA’s Washington Wizards, the NHL’s Washington Capitals, and the WNBA’s Washington Mystics.
Simply visit their lobby between 11 AM to 11 PM to place bets using the sports betting kiosks. In September 2020 alone, this brought in $22 million worth of sports wagers, so you should probably expect to wait a few minutes for a machine.
Which Sports Will Be The Most Popular For Virginia Bettors?
Despite there being no major league teams in the state, the NFL is the most popular sports league in the Commonwealth. The Washington Football Team is the most popular, but other favorites in Virginia include the Carolina Panthers and the Tennessee Titans. Betting on professional sports events like the Super Bowl and the World Series will also be allowed.
Virginia is a state with some of the biggest NCAA D1 college football programs in the country. These schools include:
- University of Virginia
- Virginia Tech
- William & Mary
All of those schools also boast formidable college basketball teams as well. Unfortunately, Virginia bettors will be unable to bet on in-state Virginia college teams. They will be able to bet, though, on other college games including NCAA championship and bowl games, this includes betting on the West Virginia Mountaineers.
While the most famous D1 schools in Virginia have both football and basketball, the state also has two major basketball-only colleges that consistently make it to March Madness: George Mason and VCU. Unfortunately, Virginia bettors will be unable to bet on home-town Virginia favorites.
March Madness is the most bet-on event in the US, bettors in Virginia will be avid participants, but they will have to bet on non-Virginia teams. This means sportsbooks will take March Madness bets on teams like Georgetown, Gonzaga, and the University of Maryland.
The Top 5 Online Sportsbooks You Can Expect In Virginia
The Virginia Lottery did not release the names of the 25 initial applicants for online sports betting licenses. However, if the rest of the country is any indication—including the sports betting options in places like West Virginia, DC, and other nearby jurisdictions—you can expect some of the most renowned brands in the industry with top-notch bonus offers.
In fact, we can say with almost total confidence that the following five sports betting sites and apps will be available in Virginia in the near future:
Time will tell what else enters the market, but two more easy guesses would be Caesars Sportsbook and Hard Rock Online.
The Timeline For Sports Betting In Virginia
On November 4, 2020, Virginia voters legalized both online and retail sports betting, and casinos with retail sportsbooks were approved by voters in Norfolk, Bristol, Danville, and Portsmouth,. Richmond will also likely get a casino with a sportsbook in the near future as well.
The Virginia Lottery will need to formulate the rules and regulations around sports betting as well as approve licenses. But that should be squared away sometime in 2021, meaning sports bettors in Virginia will likely have sports betting apps and sites at their disposal before 2022.
The major casino projects in Norfolk, Bristol, and Danville are projected to be complete around this time, bringing in-person casino gaming and sports betting to the state.
Rivers Casino Portsmouth is projected to open sometime in 2023, which would mean the state of Virginia would go from zero casinos to four casinos and sportsbooks in fewer than three years.
Virginia Sports Betting FAQ
Yes, most likely. While there hasn’t been an announcement or credible prediction around a casino and sportsbook in the Richmond city limits, it is expected that there will be one at some point. A Richmond sportsbook will come after sportsbooks in other nearby cities such as Norfolk and Portsmouth.
Yes, pretty much. There will be sportsbooks in Norfolk and Portsmouth, which are part of the great Virginia Beach metropolitan area. The Norfolk Resort Casino is projected to launch in early 2022, while the Portsmouth Casino is projected for sometime in 2023. Both casinos will also have a retail sportsbook.
Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Richmond. However, these are just where the land-based casinos will open, and inside those casinos will be retail sportsbooks. Anyone inside the state lines who’s at least 21 years old will be able to bet on sports online in Virginia by the end of 2021.
2021. While in-person sportsbooks won’t launch until 2022, Virginia seems to be on track to allow online sportsbooks to launch in 2021. This is assuming that the Virginia Lottery nails down all rules and regulations and issues licenses within a year. But there’s no reason to believe sports betting won’t launch before the end of 2021.
Yes. Virginia is home to Colonial Downs Racetrack, where you can bet on the horses. There are also several off-track betting (OTB) locations in most cities across the Commonwealth. Folks in Virginia can also legally bet on the horses online at sites like TVG and TwinSpires.
Yes. DraftKings Sportsbook is almost certainly going to be an option for online sports betting in Virginia. While the Virginia Lottery won’t release who is applying for licenses or who they will approve, DraftKings is a consistent option across states with legal sports betting. We wouldn’t be surprised to see a retail DraftKings location as well.
Yes. The FanDuel Sportsbook app and website is a very likely addition to the Virginia online sportsbook options. The Virginia Lottery still needs to create the rules and approve applicants for licenses. But FanDuel, much like DraftKings, is one of the most prominent options across the US.
Yes, most likely. In almost all states with legal online sports betting live, in-game betting (bets placed on a game after it has begun) is allowed for both professional and college sports. However, in some cases, in-game betting has been banned at the college level. Virginia has yet to formulate the precise sports betting rules, but it’s unlikely that they’ll ban live betting.