Based on the number of sportsbook applications the Virginia Lottery has received, the commonwealth could soon be a booming sports-betting market.
The VA Lottery on Thursday announced that 25 domestic and international sportsbook companies formally applied for mobile sports betting permits in Virginia.
The application period took place during a two-week period from Oct. 15 and Oct. 31.
As PlayVirginia previously reported, the Virginia Lottery won’t reveal the identities of the applicants until they formally issue permits.
Officials have 90 days to render a decision on each applicant. Previously, they said they expect the first VA online sportsbooks to be operational and accepting bets in early 2021, possibly January.
No sneak peek for sportsbook applications
Although the VA Lottery won’t spill the beans, we know at least a few of the Virginia sports betting hopefuls.
Virginia doesn’t have any major professional sports teams, and the Virginia sports betting market won’t allow wagers in in-state colleges and universities.
Still, VA is an attractive market as the 11th largest state in the US by household income ($72,577) and 12th in population (8.5 million).
As VA Lottery Executive Director Kevin Hall said:
”The high level of interest by national and international sports betting operators validates Virginia’s efforts to strike an appropriate and responsible balance in its regulatory program for legalized sports betting. We are confident that the deliberative review process we are undergoing now will result in a successful program that protects consumers, athletes, and taxpayers.”
Which sportsbooks will get Virginia permits?
The VA Lottery ultimately will issue at least four and up to 12 sportsbook permits.
The VA Lottery said it will choose permit holders based on, among other factors:
- A track record of experience and success in the US sports-betting market
- Efforts to solicit minority investors
- Number of new jobs and tax revenues the sportsbook would generate for Virginia
The casino partners for newly approved casino-resorts in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth will each be vying for one of the 12 permits. According to the Virginia General Assembly, which legalized sports betting earlier this year, those brick-and-mortar casinos will get some preference during the application process.
The VA Lottery will also give preference to certain major league sports franchises that are headquartered in or play at a facility located in Virginia. That could be important, for example, if the Washington Football Team looks to relocate when its FedEx Field lease is up in 2027.