As sports gambling continues to enjoy extraordinary growth across the U.S., Virginia bettors have joined the mix. Online sports betting in Virginia launched in January 2021, and expectations are huge.
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Yes. Gov. Ralph Northam signed a sports betting bill into law effective July 1, 2020, and online sports betting launched in January 2021.
The Virginia Lottery Board, which is responsible for licensing and regulation, will initially award at least four and up to 12 sports betting permits. Once the lottery board grants a sports betting permit, online sportsbook operators can begin accepting wagers.
Launching online-only wagering first seems well-suited for Virginia, which has no casinos or retail sportsbooks. Mobile betting is clearly the preferred choice of sports bettors. In states that allow both mobile and land-based sports betting, more than 80 percent of all wagers are placed online.
Virginia sports bettors are expected to have a wide range of sports betting operators to choose from. The Virginia Lottery Board received 25 applications for sports betting permits and can initially award licenses to as many as 12. The lottery chose not to identify the applicants, though they will become public as they launch, and many of the industry’s leading operators have expressed interest in Virginia. Some already have a partnership stake in a planned land-based casino in the state.
FanDuel: Industry giant in sports gambling and Daily Fantasy Sports was the first to launch in Virginia. It offers online betting in most states that allow it and is the industry leader in two of the biggest, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
DraftKings: Sports betting powerhouse is battling FanDuel as dominant player in Daily Fantasy. Continues to expand sports betting operations across U.S. and is market leader in several states, including Colorado, Indiana and West Virginia.
Caesars/William Hill: A well-known name in online casinos and sports betting, Caesars already has a stake in Virginia with a land-based casino project in Danville. Its purchase in 2020 of William Hill, the leading online sportsbook operator in Nevada, further increased its digital footprint.
BetMGM: The sports betting site of global casino giant MGM Resorts is available in more than a half-dozen states, including New Jersey, Nevada and West Virginia. MGM is aggressively pursuing online expansion, evidenced by its recent bid for British gaming company Entain.
BetRivers: Plans to open a Virginia land based casino in Portsmouth. Owned by Rush Street International, which operates online sportsbooks in six states, including Pennsylvania through its BetRivers and SugarHouse brands.
Hard Rock: Developing a land based casino in Bristol with Pamunkey Indian Tribe, the first federally recognized tribe in Virginia. Hard Rock operates online sportsbooks in New Jersey and Iowa.
PointsBet: Global sportsbook operator is available in a handful of states and offers its own unique PointsBetting format in which bettors can win or lose more than their original bet, depending on how right or wrong their sports bet is.
WynnBet: Has already announced an online sportsbook partnership with the state’s two NASCAR tracks, Martinsville Speedway and Richmond Raceway, both of which are expected to be approved for wagering licenses.
All of the most popular sports bets are available at Virginia online sportsbooks, including:
Point spread bet: The most popular NFL and college football wager. One team is favored over another by a specific number of points set by the sports betting site. Bettors choose the favorite or underdog. Point spreads can fluctuate based on the amount of money wagered on each team.
Moneyline bet: A wager on a team to win a specific game. No point spread. Odds are set by the sportsbook. Let’s say the Washington Football Team is listed as -130 on the moneyline vs. the Philadelphia Eagles, who are +110. That means Washington bettors must risk $130 to win $100. Philadelphia bettors risk $100 to win $110.
Over/under: A bet that the combined number of points scored by both teams in a game will be over or under the number set by the sportsbook. Also known as a totals wager.
Parlay: A wager combining two or more teams, all of which must win for the parlay ticket to cash. If one of the teams loses, the parlay is lost. The more teams in the parlay, the higher the odds and potential payout.
Teaser: A parlay wager in which the bettor favorably adjusts the point spread in exchange for reduced odds. Example: The Washington Wizards are 7-point favorites over the New York Knicks. In a 6-point teaser, a bettor can play the Wizards -1 or the Knicks +13. The same 6-point adjustment is applied to all other games in the parlay.
Proposition bet: A wager on an event that may occur during the game but doesn’t necessarily impact the outcome. Examples: Who will score the first goal in a Washington Capitals-New York Rangers game? Will Alex Ovechkin finish the game with two assists or more?
Futures bet: A bet on a team or event to be determined in the future. Examples: betting on a driver to win the NASCAR title before the season starts; gambling on a player to win the Masters before the tournament tees off; wagering on a team to win the World Series before or during the MLB season.
Sports betting apps allow players to compare odds and make wagers on their smartphone or mobile device 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from anywhere within the state. The apps are free to download (through your sportsbook operator’s website or the App Store) and available on both iOS and Android operating systems.
Mobile sports betting is the only way to legally wager on sports in Virginia. That means quality of sports betting app is vital in determining your Virginia online sportsbook(s) of choice. Sports betting apps offer an unprecedented level of convenience, but not all are the same. The best share these common characteristics:
Multi-functional: Your mobile sports betting app should allow you to do everything you could do on your computer browser and more – wager, select from an entire menu of games, make deposits and request withdrawals.
Ease of use: The app should have a responsive interface, be easy to navigate and feel comfortable to use.
Bonuses and promotions: New customers should receive sign-up bonus offers. If you’re an existing customer, your app should offer daily promotions such as odds boosts and parlay insurance.
Unique features: These can include cash-out options (players can settle bets at reduced odds before a game ends) and proposition bets on nearly every major pro game.
Safety and support: Make sure your online sportsbook is a legal sports betting site and properly licensed and the app provides timely customer and tech support.
2018: U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, giving all states the option to legalize sports betting.
2019: A bill allowing for online sports wagering in Virginia is introduced. Bill fails to advance, but a commission is formed to study impact of sports betting, laying groundwork for future legislation.
March 2020: By margins of 29-10 in the Senate and 59-35 in the House, Virginia lawmakers approve online sports betting and a limited number of future casino sportsbooks. Legislators also approve bill legalizing a casino in five Virginia cities, pending voter referendums.
April 2020: Lawmakers accept amendments to bill from Gov. Ralph Northam, who signs Virginia sports betting bill into law effective July 1.
September 2020: Virginia Lottery approves sports betting regulations and adds Sports Bettors’ Bill of Rights, designed to protect wagering transparency and integrity, data privacy and a right to recourse in disputes.
October 2020: Virginia Lottery Board receives 25 sports betting license applications. Board is tasked with issuing four to 12 sports betting permits and must respond to each applicant within 90 days.
November 2020: Voters in four Virginia cities (Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, Portsmouth) approve casino referendums. Each casino is expected to eventually offer retail sports betting. A referendum in Richmond is pushed back until 2021.
January 2021: Online sports betting launches in Virginia.
Sports bettors must be 21 or older to place a sports bet in VA.
There is no residency requirement to bet on sports in Virginia. An online sports betting account can be set up from anywhere, but bettors must be physically located in Virginia to place a wager. Online sportsbooks use geofencing technology to pinpoint a bettor’s location.
On any of the online sportsbooks operating in Virginia. Eventually, physical sportsbooks will be added when casinos are built in the state.
A few restrictions on college sports. No wagering is permitted on college games involving Virginia-based teams, such as Virginia or Virginia Tech. Proposition betting and in-game wagering is prohibited on all college games. Also, no wagering on the Olympics.
The 25 applicants for a sports betting license were required to file their applications during a two-week period in October 2020. The selection process, according to the Virginia Lottery, is based on experience and success with sports betting in the U.S.; expectations for tax revenue and job creation; and efforts to solicit minority investors. Each successful applicant pays a $250,000 application fee for an initial three-year term (renewal fees are $200,000) and a 15% tax on sports betting revenue.
The Virginia Lottery Board regulates sports betting in Virginia.
Yes, on pro sports. During in-play betting, wagers are placed after the game has started. In-play odds shift as the game progresses and are set by computer algorithms developed by sportsbooks.
Virginia online sportsbooks offer a variety of bonus offers to sign up new players. The most common are deposit match (sportsbook matches your initial deposit up to 100%) and a free first bet. Most bonus offers include certain terms and conditions, so it’s important to read the fine print.
Yes. You can sign up with as many Virginia sports betting sites as you wish. Playing at more than one site allows you to shop for the best odds and claim bonus offers from multiple operators.
All of the most common payment methods in other sports betting states are available in Virginia. The list includes credit/debit cards; e-wallets such as PayPal; Play+ and prepaid cards; bank/wire transfer; and cash via PayNearMe. Some methods deposit funds instantly, others take longer.
Betting with offshore sports wagering sites is risky and unnecessary. Offshore sportsbooks work around state and federal laws to operate and offer no regulation or legitimate oversight. Offshore sportsbooks can shut down at any time, putting your account funds and personal information at risk.
More than a dozen other states offer legal online sports wagering, including Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, West Virginia and Washington D.C. The list is growing each year. Mississippi, Montana and Washington technically allow online sports betting, but only from inside a licensed gaming area.
Online sports betting is legal is Virginia. Online casino gaming is not.
The Virginia Lottery website includes a link that allow players to self-exclude from betting for specific periods of time. Problem gambling support groups are available, including the Virginia Council on Problem Gambling (www.vacpg.org) and the National Problem Gambling Helpline (www.ncpgambling.org).
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