Welcome To VA: Sports Betting Law Goes Into Effect, Regulations Expected Soon

Written By Kim Yuhl on July 1, 2020 - Last Updated on August 2, 2023

Virginia sports bettors, start your apps.

OK, while that may be a bit premature, the law legalizing sports betting in Virginia became effective today (July 1).

While it is a big day for online gambling proponents, there are still several hoops the Virginia Lottery and sports betting operators must jump through before the first online sportsbook launches.

Launch of online sports betting in VA

The road to launching VA sports betting begins now.

The Virginia Lottery, the agency that regulates all VA gambling, will develop the regulations for sports betting in the state over the next few weeks.

The rules will become public on July 15 at the lottery’s next board meeting.

The law requires the board to offer an opportunity for the public to comment on the proposed regulations. The official public commenting period will begin following the meeting.

The VA Lottery encourages anyone to participate in the process; to do so, they have to register as a Town Hall user.

The lottery will accept public comments for 35 days until Aug. 19. Using the public comments, the VA Lottery will finalize the regulations and make them public by Sept. 15.

Soon after, sports betting operators can begin applying for available licenses. There will be 12 untethered licenses available. The VA Lottery will have up to 90 days to approve or deny an application.

Virginia online sportsbooks could launch by the end of the year.

VA sports betting regulations

The Virginia Lottery is charged with establishing the sports betting regulations that will govern the activity in the state.

It is bound by some requirements found in the law.

Most importantly, a person must be 21 years or older and be within Virginia state lines to place a bet.

Also, we know the majority of sports betting in VA will be online, with no in-person registration requirement.

While there are licenses available for the five VA casinos, pending legislation, two NASCAR tracks (a potential sportsbook at Richmond Raceway and Martinsville Speedway) and a professional sports team, it will be a lengthier process before a retail sportsbook launches.

Additionally, we know from looking at other states, like New Jersey and Pennsylvania, that the majority of sports betting happens online. With 12 untethered licenses, it will certainly be the case in Virginia, too.

When it comes to what Virginia bettors can place a wager on, it is the usual suspects, including most professional sports, some college sports, and individual prop bets.

Prohibited events include all youth sports, Virginia college sports, and in-game betting on all college sports.

Employees of the VA Lottery cannot bet on sports in VA. Additionally, employees of an online sportsbook cannot place a bet on their own platforms and any member of a sports team cannot bet on an event in which they are participating.

Potential VA online sportsbooks

While we wait for regulations to be finalized and the application process to begin, we can speculate on which sportsbooks will likely come to VA.

Virginia has a population of 8.5 million. Add 28 million from neighboring states without legal sports betting and Virginia becomes a attractive market to sports betting operators.

Tax rates and licensing fees are also favorable. There is a 15% sports betting tax rate on gross revenues and a three-year license will cost $250,000.

By law, the VA Lottery must issue the number of licenses that maximizes tax revenue.

Looking at national sports betting operators and VA casino partnerships, it is likely that VA sports bettors will have a choice among several popular sports betting apps.

Some potential VA sportsbooks include:

Right now, though, let’s turn our attention to the regulations.

Remember, you will have from July 15 through Aug. 19 to voice your opinion and shape the future of sports betting in VA.

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Kim Yuhl

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