Virginia Sports Betting
Virginia sports betting is legal and available online throughout the state. Virginia sports bettors can access the best sports betting apps in the U.S., sign up and bet without leaving their homes.
Virginia now has an impressive 14 legal online sportsbooks. That is in addition to the four brick-and-mortar casinos, Bristol Casino, Rivers Casino Portsmouth, and Caesars Danville Casino. A fifth casino Headwaters Resort and Casino in Norfolk, will open in Nov. 2024. All offer slots, table games, poker, and much more.
The Virginia gaming scene is dynamic with new sports betting apps and casinos coming in 2024. Stick to PlayVirginia for the latest news and updates.
VA sports betting update
Nov. 2, 2023
Virginia sports betting attracted more than $520 million in handle during September. As a result of this betting frenzy, primarily driven by the return of the National Football League, more than $7 million in taxes went to the state.
Unibet To Exit Virginia Sports Betting Market By End Of Q2 2024
With little market penetration, Kindred Group’s Unibet will leave all North America by the middle of next year.
Sports Betting Continues Surge In Virginia With October’s $571 Million Handle
Sports betting continues its climb in Virginia with more than $571 million in wagers in October, driven by college football and the NFL.
Lynchburg Will Begin Enforcing Ban On Skills Games Jan. 1
The town of Lynchburg says it will begin aggressively enforcing the state’s ban on skill games beginning on Jan. 1.
Online sportsbooks in VA
|Sportsbook||Bonus Offer||Play Now!|
|Bet365 VA||Up to $1,000|
Promo code: PLAYVA
|Betway VA||Up to $250||Play Now!|
|BetMGM VA||Up to $1,500 Back in Bonus Bets||Play Now!|
|Caesars VA||$1,000 First Bet on Caesars||Play Now!|
|FanDuel VA||$150||Play Now!|
|Hard Rock Bet VA||Up to $100||Play Now!|
|BetRivers VA||$500||Play Now!|
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.
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?
The 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 14 betting apps to choose from:
- Hard Rock Bet
- Sports Illustrated Sportsbook
- Barstool Sportsbook
- Bally Bet
What to expect from VA 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.
When you decide you want to give online sportsbooks in Virginia a try, you can access them through either your phone or your computer. Every sportsbook worth its salt now has app versions for both Android and Apple users. They also maintain a browser version for the computer folks to use.
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 software to carry out this task, so let’s discuss how geolocation verification works.
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 all the way 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 that the sportsbook can confirm your location.
This requirement may seem a bit invasive and off-putting to you. 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
Despite the fact that competition is extremely fierce between the different sportsbooks, each operator’s app will share many different attributes with every other sportsbook. Ironically, it makes more sense this way because it reduces the learning curve for customers who are making the switch.
So, almost every sportsbook will have this format:
- Top banner(s): Tabs for the most popular sports, live betting, and odds boosts. You may also be able to 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 completely comprehensive or will have an option entitled “Sports A-Z” that will lead you to the full list.
- Middle column or area: Featured wagers or live betting options will be in this region. If the game or games you want to bet are quite popular options, such as the Super Bowl or some other league championship, you’re likely to find them here, and you won’t have to do any searching.
- Right column: Almost always, the right side of your display will contain your betslip. 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 betslip is also where you can take advantage of any Cash Out options the sportsbook offers.
Now, there may have been a few terms in those descriptions that give you pause.
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 that are making you nervous. Sportsbook technology means that you could potentially see more than 100 bets for every single game, including options for the outcome of individual plays.
A cash-out option is a feature that may appear while a game is still happening 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 in order 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.
Only the most unknown professional sporting events will not be available somewhere in Virginia. Even esoteric options such as Irish hurling, futsal, jai alai and bandy are staples of 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 may even offer options to use cash 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 may change in early-2024, though, as North Carolina is set to put its own mobile framework into law.
Currently, North Carolina residents have a few retail sports betting options. However, it’s likely some residents of the state have ventured into the Commonwealth to make bets on Virginia sports betting apps. That may change thanks to North Carolina HB 347, which was signed by Gov. Roy Cooper in June 2023.
Under the legislation, 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 (WynnBET ceased operations in the state, while Bally Bet temporarily suspended its business and anticipates a future relaunch). Like Virginia, NC sports betting will be regulated by the state’s lottery.
One major change is the availability of college sports betting. While Virginia does not 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 at all 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 into law 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 should create 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 has no casinos yet, there were no natural gambling operators to identify, so it left room for some legislative creativity.
In the end, 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:
- 4 – 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 have the ability to 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. These properties will likely be the sites of the first retail sportsbooks in Virginia. 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. Each sportsbook will have to pony up their tax bills every month.
However, if they show a net loss for a month, the bill authorizes the operators to carry over these losses. They can carry them over and deduct them from their tax liabilities for up to a year.
Virginia has a rather simplistic plan for disbursing the tax receipts that it receives. The only identified recipient of the newfound largesse is the Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund, which is due to receive 2.5% of the accumulated 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 they do need to be part of your thought process if you’re planning to place a wager in Old Dominion.
The first restriction is on what the law calls “youth sports.” It is prohibited for Virginia sportsbooks to offer wagering on these events, which are generally understood to mean sporting events in high school or lower grades/ages. Every other state understandably 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.
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 gambling history
WynnBET announces plans to close its Virginia sports betting app.
Caesars Danville Casino opens its temporary facility.
Rivers Casino Portsmouth opens the first fully operational casino in Virginia and marked the occasion with a grand opening.
Hard Rock Bristol launched its temporary casino in July 2022 as construction expands on the site of the former Bristol Mall.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After lawmakers debated and incorporated his recommended amendments, Gov. Ralph Northam formally signed SB 384 into law.
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.
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.
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’re wanting 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