It appears Thursday is going to be the first official day of legal sports betting in Virginia. However, only one operator seems clear to take part, and that is FanDuel Sportsbook. Thanks to a partnership with the Washington Football Team, they get first-mover advantage in the state while other applicants are left on the sidelines.
VA Lottery officially approves FanDuel Sportsbook
On Wednesday, officials updated the VA Lottery website and listed its first entry under “Approved Permit Holders”:
Betfair Interactive US LLC (d/b/a FanDuel) in conjunction with the Washington Football Team (temporary permit) Approved 1/20/21
According to Richmond.com, FanDuel got a head start on its competitors in VA because of its Washington Football Team partnership. Other applicants reportedly haven’t received a decision on their applications. FanDuel was first out of the gate because Virginia gives “substantial and preferred consideration” to applicants who partner with pro sports teams that have a Virginia presence. (Washington’s corporate offices are located in the Virginia city of Ashburn.)
What we know about FanDuel and VA sports betting
FanDuel Sportsbook, one of 25 operators that recently applied for a Virginia sports betting license, announced the launch of its VA sports betting app on Wednesday evening.
It originally said in a tweet that the launch would be Thursday, but then deleted a tweet and changed the language to “coming soon.”
In addition to the video posted to social media on Wednesday, FanDuel customers reported on Twitter that they had received promotional emails from the company. The emails also stated that Virginia was slated for a Thursday launch.
After roughly 12 hours of confusion and uncertainty about if the launch will happen, Richmond.com confirmed the story.
Virginia’s first online sportsbook
This is also the first official word anyone has given about who might launch in Virginia.
VA Lottery officials didn’t immediately return a message from PlayVirginia. In fact, lotto officials haven’t even announced which operators have formally received licenses to operate.
Initially, Virginia was expected to have at least four sportsbooks and no more than 12. However, Virginia lawmakers are considering a new bill that could push the number to 19 licensed sportsbooks by the time the market matures.
That market maturity would come after 2022 and 2023, when the first legal VA casinos are expected to open in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, and Portsmouth (Richmond could join the group, pending a voter referendum later this year). Although Virginia’s market initially will be completely online, the casino-resorts could offer brick-and-mortar options (as well as their own online apps) once they open.
As for this initial launch, though, no other operator has indicated that it is licensed to go live in Virginia on Thursday. But Wednesday’s announcement from FanDuel seems to indicate it is good to go, whenever launch may actually happen.
Licenses for vendors and suppliers
The VA Lottery also recently posted its list of approved vendors and suppliers. They include data suppliers, payment processors, marketing affiliates and similar enterprises.
The vendor and supplier companies began applying for licenses on Oct. 15. Ultimately, lotto executives officially approved 27 companies for licenses on Jan. 13.
The list of licensed companies includes notables such as PayPal, Facebook, Sportradar, Topgolf Media, and other familiar names. (PlayVirginia‘s parent company, Catena Operations Ltd., also received approval.)
The full lineup includes:
|Aristotle International Inc.||Lineups.com, Inc.||Paysafecard.com USA Inc.|
|Better Collective USA Inc||Media Players US LLC||Sightline Payments LLC|
|CAMS, LLC||MediaTroopers Inc.||Simple Bet Inc.|
|Catena Operations Ltd.||Occupy Fantasy||Skrill USA, INC|
|CBS Interactive Inc.||Onfido Inc||Sportradar Solutions LLC|
|Continent 8 LLC||Outkick Media, LLC||SportsContentCo, LLC|
|Cyxtera Communications Inc.||PayNearMe MT, Inc.||SWIMA|
|Facebook Inc.||PayPal Inc.||The Action Network, Inc.|
|Kax Media America, Inc.||Paysafe Merchant Services Corp.||Topgolf Media, LLC|
The Virginia Lottery also recently approved two testing and certification labs. Those facilities include Gaming Laboratories International, LLC and Bulletproof Solutions, Inc.
The lottery will accept applications for vendors and suppliers on an ongoing basis. Unlike sportsbook licenses, vendor/supplier licenses aren’t capped.