Bally Bet Launch Marks Debut Of 10th Virginia Sportsbook Operator

Written By Dann Stupp on November 24, 2021 - Last Updated on July 27, 2023
Bally Bet launch

With the Bally Bet launch on the eve of Thanksgiving, the number of online sportsbooks in Virginia has now reached double digits.

Officials on Wednesday, Nov. 24, announced the launch of the online sports betting app and desktop site in Virginia.

Last month, Golden Nugget launched in Old Dominion and became the ninth Virginia sports-betting operator. Now, a well-known name in the gaming space has pushed the total to 10 with the Bally Bet launch in VA.

Bally Bet launch was long time in making

Via its Twin Rivers Management entity, Bally’s Corporation actually received approval for a Virginia sports betting license more than eight months ago.

But after receiving the permit on March 15, however, the company remained noticeably silent. After all, other VA sportsbooks often launched within days of receiving their permit.

Instead, Bally’s was finalizing a $2.8 billion acquisition of Gamesys. That deal gave Bally’s the in-house online gaming technology it needed to develop the Bally Bet sports betting app.

Bally Bet, which also recently scored access to the potentially lucrative New York market, now has a presence in 17 states. However, with acquisitions and licensing still underway, Bally Bet is operational only in Colorado, Iowa and now Virginia, with Indiana likely to join the mix soon.

SportsbookPermit approval dateLaunch date
Caesars (formerly William Hill)1/27/20212/2/2021
Golden Nugget3/15/202110/13/2021
Bally Bet3/15/202111/24/2021
Hard Rock3/31/20223/31/2022
Betway11/24/2021Q2 2022
SI Sportsbook11/25/2021Q2 2022

However, as in those other states, Bally Bet has its work cut out for it in Virginia.

Bally’s is more than sports betting

You could say that Bally’s is trying to fly its proverbial plane as it builds it.

Since purchasing the Bally’s name, the company (formerly known as Twin Rivers) has been busy in the gaming space. That’s especially true on the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) front.

The company owns 14 casinos in 10 states, as well the Bally’s Arapahoe Park horse racing track in Colorado.

But most recently, it’s acquired, among other assets:

  • Naming rights for 20 regional sports networks (now called Bally Sports Regional Networks)
  • Bet.Works gaming platform
  • Monkey Knife Fight daily fantasy sports site
  • SportCaller, a B2B free-game provider
  • Telescope Inc., a real-time fan engagement provider

As you can see, the company is busy on many fronts. However, sports betting will be a key focus of the company, Bally’s Chairman Soo Kim stated, as it looks to become “the leading omni-channel gaming provider in the US.”

Bally Bet launch too late?

Can Bally Bet make a dent in the Virginia sports wagering market?

Even with a familiar name among gambling enthusiasts, Bally’s is still going to need to roll up its sleeves.

During a recent Virginia Lottery Board meeting, officials laid out the current lay of the land. And as it stands, it’s pretty much a three-sportsbook race with FanDuel VA (45.4% market share), DraftKings VA (26.1%) and BetMGM VA (17.9%) dominating the other operators.

Caesars VA (7.6%) is the only other VA sportsbook with more than 1.2% market share.

And for the most part, the quicker a sportsbook got to market, the better it’s performed.

Five sportsbooks launched in Virginia before March 11. They have combined for 98.1% market share. That’s about $1.932 billion of the $1.965 billion total wagered through September in VA.

And the four sportsbooks that launched after March 11? They’ve accounted for just 1.9% of the overall Virginia sports wagering handle.

Photo by Shutterstock / alice-photo
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Dann Stupp

Dann Stupp is a longtime sports journalist who’s written and edited for The Athletic, USA Today, ESPN, and other outlets. He lives in Lexington, Virginia.

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