Virginia Sports Betting

The latest on Virginia sportsbooks, casino gambling and betting news

Virginia sports betting is legal and available online throughout the state. Sports bettors in VA can access the best sports betting apps without leaving their homes.

Virginia now offers 16 legal online sportsbooks and three additional sports betting options at brick-and-mortar casinos, including Bristol Casino, Rivers Casino Portsmouth, and Caesars Danville Casino. Headwaters Resort and Casino in Norfolk is scheduled to open in Nov. 2024.  The three operating and soon-to-be-opening casinos all have slots, table games, poker and more.

Stay tuned to PlayVirginia for the latest news and updates on Virginia’s growing gaming scene as new sports betting apps and casinos continue to launch in the Old Dominion.

Virginia sports betting regulations

In April 2020, the Virginia General Assembly accepted then-Gov. Ralph Northam’s amendments to HB896/SB384, thereby legalizing online sports betting in Virginia. The law took effect on July 1, and temporary regulations followed shortly thereafter. Those regulations were then subject to a public comment period. Final regulations were published on Sept. 15, 2020.

The bill states it is illegal to bet on youth sports and Virginia college sports. Additionally, prop betting for college players is prohibited. In-state college betting could come to Virginia soon if current legislation passes into law.

Other than that, though, sports bettors have a wide variety of sports and bet types at all of the betting apps.

In the end, Virginia could offer 19 total sports betting licenses, making the commonwealth a bettor-friendly market with plenty of options.

Which VA sports betting sites are live?

DraftKings Virginia Mobile Sports BettingThe first Virginia online sportsbook to launch in Virginia was FanDuel Sportsbook. The site went live on Jan. 21, 2021. DraftKings Sportsbook opened up three days later. There are now 16 betting apps to choose from:

  • BallyBet
  • Bet365
  • Betfred Sports
  • BetMGM
  • Betr
  • BetRivers
  • Betway
  • Caesars
  • DraftKings
  • ESPN Bet
  • Fanatics
  • FanDuel
  • Hard Rock Bet
  • Sports Illustrated Sportsbook
  • SuperBook
  • Unibet

Getting started at legal Virginia sportsbooks

According to Virginia state law, lottery officials had to choose at least four applicants to operate as online-only sportsbooks. They can license as many as 12, and those licenses are in addition to the five casino licenses and two sports franchise licenses.

You can access online sportsbooks in Virginia through either your phone or your computer. Every sportsbook has app versions for both Android and Apple users. They also maintain a browser version for the computers.

Regardless of how you choose to access your site of choice, the first thing that you’ll have to do is confirm your physical location inside the state of Virginia. Sportsbooks use sophisticated geolocation software to achieve this.

How geolocation verification works and what it means

Both state and federal law prohibit placing sports bets across state lines. Believe it or not, this prohibition stretches back to the Kennedy Administration in the early 1960s.

Authorities place the burden for confirming your location in Virginia squarely on the shoulders of each sportsbook operator. So, the betting sites in VA each use geolocation verification software to pinpoint the physical location of your device.

If you are using a smartphone or tablet, the app will likely use your onboard GPS to aid in this task. If you are using a computer, you will likely be required to download a program called GeoComply or something similar so the sportsbook can confirm your location.

This requirement may seem invasive. However, each sportsbook has its licensure on the line with enforcing this requirement, so you’ll either comply with the request, or you won’t be allowed to wager.

Virginia sports betting features and options

Even though competition is fierce between the different sportsbooks, the operator app have many things in common. This reduces the learning curve for customers who switch between apps.

Most sportsbooks use this format:

  • Top banner(s): Tabs for the most popular sports, live betting, and odds boosts. You may also see an option for promotions here.
  • Left column: A list of the sports onsite. At the very least, the most popular sports will be listed, and the menu will either be comprehensive or have an option entitled ‘Sports A-Z’ that will lead you to the full list.
  • Middle column or area: This typically features bets or live betting options. If the game or games you want to bet on are popular options, such as the Super Bowl or other league championships, you’re likely to find them here.
  • Right column: The right side of the display usually contains your bet slip. It will auto-populate as you make your selections. If you plan on making a parlay wager or one of its variants, you’ll be able to do so here. The bet slip is also where you can take advantage of any cash out options the sportsbook offers.

If you are new to sports betting below are some term definitions.

Live betting is a form of wagering that takes place on games already in progress. They are, by definition, proposition wagers, but they offer you the chance to increase your exposure and/or hedge against bets. technology makes it possible to see more than 100 bets for every game, including options for the outcome of individual plays.

A cash-out option is a feature that may appear while a game is still going and your bet hasn’t settled. The sportsbook will offer you a slightly reduced payout in exchange for closing the wager out early. The sportsbook wants to do so to save money; it is already anticipating that you are likely to win. However, you may want to take the reduced pay because it helps you to guard against any kind of late collapses or comebacks that could spoil your bet.

Most sports are available to bet on in Virginia. You’ll even find options such as Irish hurling, futsal, jai alai, and bandy on Virgina online sports betting sites.

You will also be able to use a variety of methods for banking with the site. Credit cards, e-checks, e-wallets such as PayPal or Skrill, online bill pay, or prepaid cards are just some of the options that you will have. Some sportsbooks offer options to use cash at the casino for an online deposit.

How does Virginia sports betting compare to North Carolina?

Virginia has an established online sports betting industry that has attracted attention and money from its southern neighbor. That has changed, though. On March 1, VNorth Carolina started accepting pre-registrations for its online sportsbooks. On March 11, 2024, NC launched sport setting in earnest.

North Carolina’s new sports betting industry could present some issues for Virginia, especially if residents of NC were making the trip across the border to play at VA sportsbooks before NC legalized.

Up to 12 sports betting apps could be coming to North Carolina. That’s slightly fewer than Virginia, which, at its peak, housed 15 online sportsbooks. DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, Fanatics, Caesars, and other big names have entered the North Carolina market. Like Virginia, NC sports betting is regulated by the state’s lottery.

One major change is the availability of college sports betting. While Virginia does not (yet) allow betting on in-state teams (such as the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech), North Carolina sports betting has no such restrictions. This could mean a shift in traffic. While the past few years have seen some North Carolinians visit Virginia to bet on sports, Virginians may now be headed south to do the same thing.

VA gambling laws and regulations

Virginia’s foray into sports betting and casinos is nothing short of remarkable. To go from a state with very few gambling options to one with both casino resorts and online sports betting may be one of the most dramatic policy shifts in recent memory. Both laws were enacted on the same day, April 22, 2020, and became effective on July 1 of the same year.

SB384 – Sports betting

Virginia’s law to legalize sports betting is a comprehensive piece of legislation that created one of the stronger sports betting markets in the country. The provisions for both online and retail sports betting mean that there will always be a place to wager on sports in Virginia.

One of the more striking aspects of the law is its unique authorization of parties who can apply for licensure. Since Virginia had no casinos, there were no natural gambling operators to identify, so it left room for some legislative creativity.

The bill specifies that there could be as many as 18 sports betting licenses active in Virginia. The breakdown of those licenses is as follows:

  • Four to 12 online-only licenses: These licenses are to be awarded to applicants selected by the Virginia Lottery. They do not require the applicant to have any physical or business connection to the state. Officials must approve at least 4, but they can license up to 12. Virginia’s two NASCAR tracks are authorized to apply for one of these licenses, too.
  • Five licenses for casinos: Every casino property that becomes a reality in Virginia is empowered to apply for a license to offer sports betting. Online sports betting, though, has had a headstart on the land-based versions.
  • Two licenses for sports franchises: This last provision is unique. The law authorizes the awarding of a sports betting license to any major sports franchise that relocates to Virginia or has enough employees paying Virginia income tax. FanDuel partnered with the Washington Commanders for this license, giving it a first-mover advantage in the state.

All applicants must pay $250,000 for the privilege of applying for a license. In addition, they must pay $250,000 to receive the license, should they be approved.

Each license is good for three years. After that period, operators must pay $200,000 to renew.

Tracking the taxes on sports betting

Along with the fees, permit holders must pay 15% of their adjusted gross revenue as tax. The tax bill is paid monthly.

In the event of a net loss in a month, the bill authorizes the operators to carry over those losses.

Virginia has a rather simplistic plan for disbursing the tax receipts that it receives. The only identified recipient is the Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund, which is due to receive 2.5% of the funds.

The remaining 97.5% of tax revenue goes straight into Virginia’s general fund. So, unlike the introduction of casinos, Virginia lawmakers clearly mean for sports betting to infuse cash into the state’s coffers.

Prohibited or limited types of betting

As is the case with any sports betting state, there are a few types of betting that Virginia has declared to be unacceptable. None of these restrictions are unique to Virginia, per se, but keep them in mind when placing a bet in Old Dominion.

‘Youth sports’ cannot be bet on. It is prohibited for Virginia sportsbooks to offer bet on events involving high school or lower grades. Every other state has similar prohibitions.

Virginia law also protects college sports inside its borders. Betting on Virginia college sports is also off-limits, which means that there will be no in-state betting on schools such as UVA or Virginia Tech University.

Virginia law partially protects collegiate athletes across the country, too. Proposition betting on college sports of any type is not allowed. Since live betting is a form of prop bet, that means that you will have to make all your college bets before the game begins.

Other restrictions

The only other caveat that Virginia’s sports betting rules have is regarding the use of league data. Virginia law allows for sports leagues to request that sportsbook operators use official league data for settling live bets.

However, the onus is on the leagues to provide a source for the league data too. They must be able to furnish a reliable feed at a reasonable price. Otherwise, the operators can use whatever source they want.

From a consumer point of view, the only effect that this rule may have in tangible terms is a slight reduction in the number of sportsbooks available. The added cost of paying for league data could potentially seal out some of the smaller providers. However, for the most part, this rule is a technicality for the operators.

Sports betting revenue and tax rates

Online sportsbook operators in Virginia pay a 15% tax rate on gross revenues. They also pay a $250,000 fee for a license lasting three years.

Important dates in Virginia’s gambling history

October 2023

Between October 1 and Oct. 31, 2023, Virginians bet over half a billion dollars, $571,354,817.  This is an 8.2% increase from a year ago last October.

August 2023

WynnBET announces plans to close its Virginia sports betting app.

May 2023

Caesars Danville Casino opens its temporary facility.

January 2023

Rivers Casino Portsmouth opens the first fully operational casino in Virginia and marked the occasion with a grand opening.

June 2022

Hard Rock Bristol launched its temporary casino in July 2022 as construction expands on the site of the former Bristol Mall.

May 2021

After only four months of online sports betting, Virginia became the fastest state to reach $1 billion in total wagers. From a Jan. 21 launch through the end of April, the total had reached $865 million.

April 2021

Unibet formally launched in Virginia and brought the total number of operational sportsbooks in VA to seven. In addition to Unibet, the operators include FanDuel, DraftKings, William Hill, BetMGM, BetRivers, and WynnBET. However, thanks to its headstart, FanDuel had accounted for more than half of all wagers in Virginia through the first few months of online sports betting.

January 2021

The Virginia Lottery announced sports betting should be live by Super Bowl. However, they wouldn’t announce which operators will operate in the state. It was only when FanDuel Sportsbook announced on social media that it would be launching in Virginia the following day that anyone even knew the market was ready to go. FanDuel got exclusivity in Virginia for at least a little while because it partnered with the Washington Football Team for a license, but days later, more competition entered the fray.

October 2020

The deadline for applications passed, and lottery officials were deluged with submissions. By the commission’s own statements, 25 operators submitted applications between Oct. 15 and the end of the month. Although the identities of the operators were officially secret, several big-name players in the market confirmed that they were part of that group.

September 2020

After a 35-day comment period on the rules ended in August, the Virginia Lottery finalized them for the Commonwealth of Virginia. The final draft appeared in mid-September 2020 and came with the announcement that operators could begin submitting applications for licenses in a month’s time.

July 2020

The Virginia Lottery published its preliminary sports betting rules for public comment. Several stakeholders, including multiple sportsbook operators and representatives from major sports leagues, weighed in.

April 2020

After lawmakers debated and incorporated his recommended amendments, Gov. Ralph Northam formally signed SB 384 into law.

November 2019

The commissioned study estimated that a mature sports betting market in Virginia could be worth $400 million in additional annual revenue. It placed the date of maturity at 2028, meaning that Virginia lawmakers could start seeing benefits in a very short time. The study was the product of independent firms The Innovation Group and Regulatory Management Counselors, who worked with the Senate’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission to produce the report.

Delegate Mark D. Sickles (D – House District 43) introduced the first bill to allow sports betting in Virginia. HB 1638 would’ve allowed up to five sportsbooks to set up shop in the state, but the bill is quickly tabled in the House Rules Committee.

March 2019

The Virginia Senate produced SB 1126 to commission an independent report studying the effects of sports betting in other states. This bill mandated that legislators have the report in hand by December 2019, and its relatively easy passage clearly showed which way the wind was blowing in the Commonwealth.

May 2018

The US Supreme Court dismissed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) and paved the way for sports betting on the state level. Conversations about sports betting began in many states, including Virginia.

Virginia Sports Betting FAQ

Virginia law prohibits sportsbooks from accepting wagers from anyone under the age of 21.

No. Interstate betting is prohibited by both state and federal law.

Every time you log onto a VA betting site, you will be required to verify your location within Virginia. If you cannot do so, you will be denied full access to the site and will not be allowed to bet. Even if you are falsely being denied service, the operators have too much on the line to take a chance.

In a limited sense, yes. Colleges that are inside the state are not acceptable vehicles for your wagers. However, you can make pre-game bets on colleges outside of Virginia. Prop bets, including live betting, are not permitted for any college game.

Yes. Your sports betting winnings are subject to federal, state, and local taxes. They are considered income, and must be reported properly and accurately. Though the anonymous and cash-only nature of retail sportsbooks may lead you to believe that you can skimp on this aspect, online sports betting is completely trackable and creates an easy-to-follow digital trail for any curious auditors.

Additional information on VA sports betting

  • VA gambling bills: If you’d like to read the full texts of Virginia’s sports betting or casino gambling laws, you can read them here – SB 384 (sports betting) and SB 36 (casinos).
  • VA sports betting rules: If you want to dive deeper into the planned infrastructure for sports betting, you can read the complete rules here – Virginia Lottery Sports Betting Rules
  • VA sports betting public comments: If you’re curious about which groups commented about the proposed rules and what they said, check out this page – Rules Comment Log
  • Responsible gambling: If you or someone you love is struggling with problem gambling in Virginia, here is a helpful page with all the resources in the state available to you – Virginia Problem Gambling Services