Virginia College Sports Betting: What’s Allowed

Sports betting in Virginia became legal in April of 2020. But the state’s sports betting law is confusing when it comes to betting on college sports. Which college games are Virginians allowed to bet on, and why do some of the most popular games and teams only have grey market betting options? Here’s a rundown of Old Dominion’s sports betting stance with relation to college betting. 

What Does Virginia’s Law Say?

Betting on sports in Virginia by legal residents is indeed now permitted. With the state government agreeing to grant licenses to between four and twelve applicants, it is expected that the first apps from major players like BetMGM, FanDuel, and DraftKings will be up and running in early 2021. 

The law passed does make betting on professional sports and collegiate sports legal, but Virginia residents are not allowed to place wagers on college or university teams based in the state. The full subsection of the law can be found here.

That was one of the sticking points along the way to legalization. Some legislators also asking for odds to be posted on games, a ban on betting on the Olympics, and a prohibition on prop bets.

While the gaming organizations and companies were successful in rejecting the odds proposal, the Olympic and prop bet bans did make their way into the final draft.

The Compromise

It’s no exaggeration to say that government officials in Virginia were in a rush to get a deal finalized. Senator Chapman Peterson (D- District 34) said, Yes, there is a sense of urgency for me. We’re losing business, we’re losing tax revenue, we’re losing entertainment dollars, so yeah, my goal is to keep it in state.

Nearby West Virginia and Washington D.C. have already made the move to legalize sports betting.

In order to get the legislation over the line, some concessions had to be made on both sides. In exchange for a reduction of taxes from 17.5% to 15%, stipulations were allowed into the law that prevented residents from betting on collegiate teams within the state as well as the Olympics, which still qualify as amateur competitions. That means that online sportsbooks operating under a Virginia license will not be able to list betting options for the popular Virginia and Virginia Tech teams as well as any universities in the state. This prohibition remains in place even if a Virginia school is playing in a match outside of Virginia. 

The commonwealth is not alone in forbidding residents from betting on in-state colleges in universities. New York and Illinois have both inserted similar prohibitions into their laws.

In Virginia, where there are no professional sports teams (if we exclude the Washington Football Team’s physical location only), the move to ban betting on the most popular teams in the state while the grey market still exists doesn’t make sense to everyone.

For now, the sportsbook providers seemed happy enough to get their collective foot in the door and deal with possible revisions in the future.

Which College Sports Can You Bet On In Virginia?

You can bet on any college or university sport offered by a licensed sportsbook in the state if both of the teams involved aren’t based in Virginia.

That means it is now legal to place bets on March Madness, the College World Series, or any other game or event so long as there isn’t a Virginia college or university involved.

There are no limitations on the actual sport that can be bet on. Everything from esports to golf is on the table, but expect the majority of betting to be done on basketball and football.

While prop bets aren’t allowed, bettors can still wager on performance statistics for individual players.

About the Author

Amber Hoffman

Amber Hoffman is Managing Editor of MichiganSharp.com. A recovering attorney, she's spent almost a decade developing and managing websites and writing for a variety of industries. Amber became a Cubs fan after living a handful of blocks from Wrigley Field, much to the chagrin of her Mets-loving family and Red Sox-loving husband. Amber writes for a number of online sites including the food and lifestyle site Food And Drink Destinations.