Caesars/William Hill Join Virginia Sports Betting Market

Caesars/William Hill Join Virginia Sports Betting Market
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Caesars Virginia and its William Hill sportsbook, approved for online sports betting last week by the Virginia Lottery, went live in the state Wednesday in time for Super Bowl LV wagering.

The announcement was made at a Wednesday morning meeting of the Virginia Lottery with Deputy Director Gina Smith saying Caesars was launching at noon. It will be the fifth operator live in Virginia.

“Just in time for Sunday’s game, our Virginia app will give football fans over 1,000 ways to bet this incredible matchup, from the opening coin toss to whether the game will be decided in overtime,” Kenneth Fuchs, president of Digital for William Hill US, said in a news release after the launch.

FanDuel was the first online sportsbook to go live in Virginia, launching on Jan. 21 because of a partnership with the Washington Football Team that gave it “substantial and preferred consideration.” DraftKings followed by launching Jan. 24 before the NFL Conference Championship games.

BetMGM and BetRivers launched on Jan. 27 and were the third and fourth sportsbooks in a Virginia market that is off to a fast start.

There have been 25 applications for the 12 sports betting licenses in Virginia, Smith said, with several others in position to go live soon.

The operators are to have revenue reports to the state by the 20th of each month, so the first report will be available Feb. 20, Smith said. She added that since the operators are allowed to offset costs for marketing, it might be a few months before the state knows the actual tax revenue from the operation.

Virginia joined Michigan in launching online sports betting on Jan 21-22.

Caesars Casino in Danville

Caesars is building a casino resort in Danville after that city was one of four in Virginia to approve casinos in November.

All or most Caesars properties in the U.S. feature William Hill sportsbooks. Caesars owns and/or operates approximately 50 facilities in more than a dozen states under the Caesars, Harrah's, Horseshoe and Eldorado brand names.

William Hill has a retail sportsbook in nearby Washington, D.C., at Capital One Arena, and it has consistently outpaced the DC Lottery’s sports betting app. It was the first sportsbook at a U.S. professional sports venue.

On Sept. 30, Caesars Entertainment agreed to purchase William Hill in a $3.7 billion deal. William Hill shareholders approved the deal in November. It is expected to close during the second half of 2021.

More Licenses on the Way in Virginia?

Bills in the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates that would allow for more sports betting licenses in Virginia and for wagering on the Olympics have recently cleared both chambers.

The House bill (HB 1847), sponsored by Del. Mark Sickles, who was a sponsor of sports betting legislation that ultimately formed the state law, passed the House by a vote of 67-33. It includes technical amendments that clarify a permit issued to a casino operator does not count toward the maximum of 12 permits and it clarifies that the Olympics shall not be considered youth sports.

The Senate bill (SB 1254), sponsored by Sen. Jeremy McPike, passed the Senate this week in a 21-18 vote.

The bills clarify that the licenses for casinos in the state will not count against the mobile-only limit of 12.