Virginia Sports Betting: Where To Bet & Top Sportsbook Offers

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Virginia sports bettingVirginia became one of the latest states to legalize sports betting in 2020. Five sportsbook apps launched in time for Super Bowl LV betting, with the first app launching on January 21, 2021. 

Numerous big names in the sports betting industry are set to launch throughout 2021. Some of these operators have deals with retail casino locations to be constructed over the next few years. Overall, the next few years are sure to be exciting for sports bettors all across the Old Dominion.

5 Best Virginia Sports Betting Apps 2021

Virginia Sports Betting Updates

  • William Hill launches before Super Bowl in Virginia – on February 3rd William Hill launched in Virginia after partnering with Caesars Entertainment and became the fifth app. William Hill offers new players up to $2,021 risk-free bet.
  • BetRivers and BetMGM join the fray – three days after DraftKings and six after FanDuel, two new sportsbooks entered the Virginia market. BetMGM and BetRivers both launched on January 27, 2021, bringing Virginia’s sportsbook total to four. You can get up to $250 at BetRivers and up a $600 risk-free bet at BetMGM.
  • DraftKings goes live in Virginia – three days after FanDuel’s Virginia launch, DraftKings went live in the market on January 24, 2021. When you sign up for DraftKings Virginia, you can get a 20% deposit match up to $1,000.
  • FanDuel launches Virginia’s first sportsbook FanDuel debuted in Virginia on January 21, 2021. It was the first sportsbook to go live in the state, thanks in part to a partnership with the Washington Nationals. New FanDuel bettors can place a risk-free first bet up to $1,000.
  • The Virginia Lottery begins accepting sports betting applications – On October 15, 2020, the Virginia Lottery opened up sports betting license applications. Dozens of operators applied in total, with several also applying for partnerships with Virginian cities like Danville and Portsmouth, who voted on referendums to allow the construction of retail casinos.
  • Virginia voters approve five retail casinos – On November 3, 2020, voters approved five retail casinos in a referendum. Three of the cities have already partnered with online sportsbook operators and the other two teamed up with a local Indian Tribe: BetRivers via Portsmouth, Caesars via Danville, Hard Rock Casino via Bristol, Pamunkey Indian Tribe via Norfolk and Richmond.

The Best Sports Betting Apps In Virginia (In-depth look)

Willaim Hill Virginia (9/10) – Best For Largest Risk-Free Bonus

Visit: Willaim Hill Virginia and get a $2,021 Risk-Free Bet

  • Opening Bonus Offer: $2,021 risk-free bet
  • Available Platforms/Operating Systems: Desktop, Android, iOS
  • Casino Partnerships: Caesars Entertainment
  • Key Features: Largest risk-free bonus, biggest retail sportsbook footprint in US
  • Deposit Options: Electronic wallets (i.e. PayPal or Skill), credit/debit cards, PayNearMe, bank transfers

William Hill launched on February 3rd in Virginia just in time for the Super BowlWith the largest risk-free opening bonus and a great website and app – William Hill is a great choice for Virginia sports bettors.

William Hill is the oldest continuously running sports betting company, with a large international footprint. They also operate the largest number of retail sportsbooks in the US. In Virginia, bettors can expect a strong and stable app, great ongoing promotions, and an easy-to-navigate live betting system on the app.

FanDuel Virginia (9/10) – Best For Mobile Apps On iOS & Android

Visit: FanDuel Virginia and get a $1,000 Risk-Free Bet

  • Opening Bonus Offer: $1000 risk-free bet
  • Available Platforms/Operating Systems: Desktop, Android, iOS
  • Casino Partnerships: Washington Football Team
  • Key Features: DFS, search bar, odds format changing, odds-changing mid-bet
  • Deposit Options: Electronic wallets (i.e. PayPal or Skill), credit/debit cards, PayNearMe, bank transfers

FanDuel is one of the two top dogs in American sports betting, and it already offers daily fantasy sports. This makes it no surprise that it was the first to confirm its launch in Virginia on January 21, 2021, only a day before its launch in Michigan.

With a generous opening bonus and a slick, streamlined user interface that makes the app easy to use even on high-traffic gamedays, FanDuel is likely to be a sports bettor favorite in Virginia.

BetRivers Virginia (8.5/10) – Best For Deposit Bonus

Visit: BetRivers Virginia and get a $250 Deposit Bonus

  • Opening Bonus Offer: 100% deposit match up to $250 (1x play through)
  • Available Platforms/Operating Systems: Desktop, Android, iOS
  • Retail Casino Partnerships: To-be-built Portsmouth, VA casino
  • Key Features: Sports newsfeed, “Live Right Now” wagers, live streaming
  • Deposit Options: Electronic wallets, credit/debit cards, PayNearMe, bank transfers

Sports betting enthusiasts will want to check out the BetRivers mobile app. Unlike most other prospective sportsbook launches, BetRivers is definitely known to be launching in 2021 since the operator has already made an agreement with Portsmouth, VA. This operator will provide retail sports betting once that city’s casino has been constructed.

The app itself is one of the best on the market. It has a phenomenal loyalty program and a very clean, minimalist user interface. This makes navigating to different betting pools or game events quick and easy.

BetMGM Virginia (7/10) – Best For MGM MLife Players

Visit: BetMGM Virginia and get a $600 Risk Free Bet

  • Opening Bonus Offer: Risk free bet up to $600
  • Available Platforms/Operating Systems: Desktop, Android, iOS
  • Retail Casino Partnerships: N/A
  • Key Features: Easy access betting slip, special bets
  • Deposit Options: Electronic wallets, credit/debit cards, PayNearMe, bank transfers

BetMGM is an international sportsbook operator that’s likely to come to Virginia sometime early in 2021. As one of the biggest betting and casino companies in the world, this app offers excellent market depth and variety. Despite its recent arrival in the US, it has a solid user reputation already.

Included among its attractive features is a generous opening bonus, extra international betting pools, and markets for leagues and activities like international soccer, cricket, and Australian rules football, and more.

DraftKings Virginia (9.5/10) – Best For Sports Fans Who Also Play DFS

Visit: DraftKings Virginia and get a $1,000 Deposit Bonus

  • Opening Bonus Offer: Five $5 free bets + deposit match bonus at 20% rate up to $1000
  • Available Platforms/Operating Systems: Desktop, Android, iOS
  • Retail Casino Partnerships: N/A
  • Key Features: Easy access betting slip, special mobile-only wagers, DFS
  • Deposit Options: Electronic wallets, credit/debit cards, PayNearMe, bank transfers

DraftKings is also likely to have a big presence in the Virginia sports betting market. That’s partially because of its robust mobile app and its phenomenal market depth and variety, both of which blow most of its competitors out of the water. For example, DraftKings is one of the few operators to offer eSports betting on its mobile app where available under local state law.

DraftKings also has a very generous opening bonus totaling a little over $1000, an intuitive mobile app for all major platforms, and daily mobile-only betting pools that you can only access using the app rather than the desktop site. 

VA Sportsbooks Coming Soon

PointsBet Virginia (8.3/10)

  • Opening Bonus Offer: $2000 in two risk-free bets
  • Available Platforms/Operating Systems: Desktop, Android, iOS
  • Retail Casino Partnerships: N/A
  • Key Features: Pointsbetting, search bar, live streaming, good layout
  • Deposit Options: Electronic wallets, credit/debit cards, PayNearMe, bank transfers

PointsBet is a relatively new sportsbook to come to America that offers phenomenal odds (especially for any fixed odds wagers). PointsBet shares its name from its special “pointsbetting” system – this allows players to participate in a special type of spread betting. If you have an appetite for high risk and high reward wagers, it’ll be a great app for you, even though its market depth and variety could be a little better.

All Virginia Sportsbook Sites

Sportsbook NameBonus OfferPartnerLaunch Date
William HillRisk free bet up to $2021Caesars Entertainment2/3/21
FanDuel$1000 risk-free betWashington Football Team1/21/21
DraftKingsFive $5 free bets + 20% deposit match bonus up to $1000N/A1/24/21
BetRivers100% deposit match bonus up to $250Portsmouth, VA casino1/27/21
BetMGM$600 risk-free betN/A1/27/21
PointsBet$2000 in 2 risk-free betsN/AComing Soon

How To Place A Bet In Virginia

Virginia’s sports betting legislation has made placing an online wager quick and easy. 

Choose A Sportsbook

First, choose your sportsbook among the many that will launch sometime in the near future. To do this, either visit the Apple App Store and download the apps straight to your iPhone device or visit the sportsbook’s online website and download the program to your Android device. The Google Play Store doesn’t allow any gambling apps at all.

After downloading the app, open it to begin the registration process.

Register For An Account

Registering for a mobile sportsbook account will be simple. You do not need to visit a retail location in-person to complete the registration process (because Virginia doesn’t have any retail casinos anyway).

Provide your name, address, Social Security Number, and any other required pieces of information. The app will verify your info for a moment, then allow you into the app if you are older than 21 years old and in Virginia. The app will install geolocation software to make sure you are accessing the app within Virginia’s borders.

Deposit Cash

Most mobile sportsbooks allow you to utilize multiple deposit methods to fund your sports betting account. Most allow some combination of credit and debit card deposits, bank transfers, and electronic wallet transfers.

Simply choose the method you want to use and connect that method to your account. This may require signing into your deposit method of choice – for example, if you want to use PayPal, you may need to use your PayPal username and password to link that account to your sportsbook.

Then you can decide how much money you want to place in your account. This will allow you to take advantage of many sportsbooks’ opening bonuses based on their terms and conditions. 

Place Bets

Once your account is funded, you can navigate through the app as you like and start placing wagers! Be sure to take advantage of any opening bonuses that might apply to your account. These include deposit match bonuses, risk-free bets, and more.

Virginia’s Legal Sportsbooks

Ultimately, Virginia’s legal sportsbooks are far superior to any illegal or offshore betting sites.

For starters, every Virginian sportsbook is licensed and regulated by the Virginia Lottery. This overseeing body performs regular investigations into all the sportsbooks within Virginia’s borders and makes sure that any operating sportsbook has excellent digital security to protect the financial data of its users.

Internet security is particularly important because identity theft and other cyber threats are much more common these days. In contrast, offshore or illegal sites usually don’t have high-quality security, let alone basic SSL certification. This means anyone who uses those sites puts their personal information and financial data at risk.

All licensed sportsbooks in Virginia must both have insurance for their users and must report their winnings to the state government and IRS. This does mean that you’ll need to pay taxes on any winnings you get from using a Virginia sportsbook. But it’s a small price to pay for security and peace of mind. 

Virginia’s Sports Betting Revenue

It’s tough to say just how much revenue Virginia’s state government can expect once sports betting fully launches and gets going. However, certain studies have indicated that mobile sports betting revenue alone might approach $400 million over the next seven years or so.

When you consider the fact that Virginia is also launching retail casinos (which will incorporate their own brick-and-mortar sportsbooks), it’s clear that the Virginian state government has a lot to look forward to in terms of revenue.

The industry as a whole is set to explode. The more the market opens and develops, the more promotional opportunities and licensing deals will flood the state.

Per Virginia’s sports betting legislation, a 12% tax rate will apply to most sports betting revenue. For example, if the state generates (according to the above study) $462 million in annual revenue, the state government will receive around $55 million in taxes.

Mobile alone may generate close to $400 million in revenue and, therefore, also generate $40 million in taxes for the Virginian government. All in all, it’s likely that the government will appreciate its decision to legalize sports betting very soon.

How Virginia Compares To Other States

Although Virginia has been relatively barren in terms of gambling opportunity in recent years, its sports betting legislation is pretty similar to the rules adopted by other states, like New Jersey. For example, Virginia’s sports betting restriction against betting on collegiate teams from its own universities is identical to the laws adopted by New Jersey sportsbooks.

In contrast, Pennsylvania doesn’t have any restrictions on collegiate sports betting, which goes to show that individual states have clearly different opinions about what constitutes moral sports wagering.

Furthermore, there are states that have adopted sports betting without allowing casinos to be built. For instance, Tennessee now allows sports betting but does not allow either casinos or poker. In contrast, Virginia will allow retail casinos to be built across five cities (with more potentially being built in the future).

In summary, Virginia is around the middle of the pack in terms of gambling opportunities and freedom. Once the state government sees the extra income earned from sports betting, further restrictions may eventually be lifted.

Virginia Betting Successes And Failures

Virginia’s Sports Betting Success

So far, Virginia’s big sports betting success has undoubtedly been the launch of online sports wagering before the retail casinos are constructed. Because building a new casino or resort takes a few years at a minimum, Virginian residents are no doubt relieved that they’ll still be able to enjoy mobile sports betting before those brick-and-mortar locations are ready to be visited.

Furthermore, Virginia’s Lottery performed rather impressively when it came to creating the rules and regulations for sports betting. In just a few months, sports betting went from illegal in Virginia to fully licensed and regulated.

The Lottery began accepting applications on October 15, 2020, and finished accepting applications by Halloween. In total, eighteen sportsbooks are set to launch over the next few years when you combine online sites and retail operations. About 25 companies applied for licenses. 

In other words, Virginia’s sports betting scene is so far impressive due to its speed. Few states have launched sports betting as successfully and efficiently. 

Where Could Virginia Improve Online Gambling

This being said, Virginia could definitely improve its online gambling sphere by also legalizing online casino games and other activities like poker. For legal online gambling, Virginia bettors will need to travel to West Virginia.

For now, the only online gambling activity is sports betting (and daily fantasy sports, which technically doesn’t count as gambling). Even the state lottery must be played in person, preventing people from purchasing lottery tickets online.

However, it may be that Virginia legislators are looking to see how sports betting fully actualizes over the next few years before lifting the restriction on other forms of gambling. Hopefully, we’ll see many more gambling opportunities launch over the next decade. 

Virginia could also make sports betting more accessible by allowing bets on local college teams, particularly in a state that doesn’t have any professional teams to officially call its own.

Legalization Effort In Virginia

The path to sports betting legalization in Virginia was long and hard-fought. Although the federal ban on sports gambling was lifted in May 2018, it took until 2019 for Virginian lawmakers to even begin debating sports betting proposals.

Then it took the rest of 2019 to reach an agreement. By April 2020, the Virginia House and Senate crafted a pair of bills outlining sports betting rules and restrictions. Both bills faced a little pushback from Governor Ralph Northam, who made a number of unspecified changes.

Fortunately, Northam did not stand in the way of progress and allowed both bills to pass the House and Senate. He then signed off on the final bills and set the date for legalization: July 1, 2020.

It’s likely that Northam was responsible for the two-month waiting period before official sports betting processes could begin. This allowed the weeks between July 15 and September 15 to be allocated to the Virginia Lottery, which then wrote detailed sports betting regulations.

Timeline For Virginia Sports Betting

  • May 2018 – Sports betting ban is lifted at the federal level
  • April 2020 – Bills HB 896 and SB 384 pass the Virginia House and Senate, respectively
  • April 22, 2020 – Gov. Ralph Northam signs both bills and legalizes sports betting in Virginia
  • July 1, 2020 – Sports betting officially becomes legal in Virginia
  • July 15, 2020 – Temporary sports betting regulations are issued
  • August 10, 2020 – Updated sportsbook draft regulations are released by the Lottery
  • September 15, 2020 – Virginia Lottery publishes its official sports betting regulations
  • October 15, 2020 – The Lottery starts accepting license applications from sportsbook operators
  • October 31, 2020 – The sportsbook application window closes
  • November 3, 2020 – The referendum for Virginian cities that decides whether they will allow or outlaw casino construction is held
  • January 21, 2021 – Online and mobile sports betting launches in Virginia

Virginia Teams

Virginia Professional Sports Teams

Virginia residents have long dreamed of online sports betting coming to their state in large part because many of them are sports fanatics! Interestingly, Virginia doesn’t have a professional sports franchise of national repute.

However, Virginia is the state that most Washington DC professional sports teams call home. For instance, both the Washington Football Team and Washington Capitals (an NHL team) have their practice facilities and corporate headquarters stationed in Northern Virginia. This is even though both teams play outside of Virginia.

Thus, sports bettors would be wise to place wagers and look for promotional opportunities for the Washington Football Team. As a five-time NFL champion, this team is definitely one to watch, particularly when they face off against the Dallas Cowboys (their primary rival). Virginia bettors will also be able to place bets on the Baltimore Ravens and all other NFL teams. 

But sports bettors should also check out the Washington Wizards, which is the closest professional NBA team for most Virginians to support. Games against the Cleveland Cavaliers are sure to be accompanied by excellent wagers and promotional opportunities due to the long-standing rivalry between both teams.

Other popular professional teams available for betting include the Washington Nationals, and the Baltimore Orioles. The Nationals have risen to prominence in the last few years and the Orioles have a strong rivalry with both the Yankees and the Red Sox.

Virginia College Sports Teams

While many Virginians love college sports, Virginia’s recent sports betting legislation has unfortunately placed severe limitations on college sports betting.

In fact, it will not be legal to place sports bets on Virginia college sports within the state. Instead, Virginia residents will only be allowed to place bets on college sports teams in other states (with the exceptions of proposition bets and live betting, which are still prohibited).

This is likely a big bummer for sports betting enthusiasts, as Virginia Tech and Virginia State University are two of the country’s leading teams for college football and basketball. But while Virginia sports bettors won’t be able to place wagers on the Virginia Cavaliers, Tech Hokies, or Liberty Flames, there are still lots of other options to bet on using the plethora of soon-to-launch sports betting apps. This includes being able to bet on the Georgetown Hoyas, the Maryland Terrapins, and the Gonzaga Bulldogs, all popular local college basketball teams.

Other Sports To Bet On In Virginia

Aside from professional sports, Virginian sports bettors will likely be able to find and enjoy lots of excellent betting markets for activities like NASCAR: arguably the most popular non-ball-sport activity in the state. This is probably because Virginia is home to four different annual NASCAR races in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Additional races to look for high-value wagers and betting markets include:

  • Xfinity 500
  • ValleyStar Credit Union 300
  • Dominion Energy Charity Classic

Virginia Sports Betting FAQs

Is Online Sports Betting Legal In Virginia?

Yes. As of July 1, 2020, online sports betting is legal provided it is done on a licensed app currently regulated by the Virginia Lottery. The first sports betting app launched on January 21, 2021. 

How Old Do I Have To Be To Bet Online In Virginia?

You must be 21 years of age or older to bet online within Virginia’s borders. This is the same age for the state lottery.

Who Regulates Online Sportsbook Apps In Virginia?

The Virginia Lottery regulates all online sportsbook activity. In addition, this organization will oversee retail sportsbook operations once they launch at brick-and-mortar casinos throughout Virginian cities.

Do I Need To Be A Resident Of Virginia To Bet Online?

No. Any Virginia mobile sportsbook will request your address and install geolocation software as the app installs. This requires you to be within Virginia’s borders when placing a wager or using a mobile sportsbook. You do not need to be a resident of Virginia, just located within its borders. 

Is It Safe To Use An Online Sportsbook App?

Yes. Mobile sportsbooks currently (or soon to be) operating in Virginia are licensed and regulated by the Lottery. This means that the Lottery investigated the operator and found that they had both excellent digital security, such as SSL certification, and insurance to protect its users in the event of fraud or theft.

In other words, any legal online sportsbooks are well-vetted and should be safe to use. If you have any issues, you can bring a grievance to the Virginia Lottery and they will investigate on your behalf.

Is It Legal To Bet On College Sports In Virginia?

Yes and no. You are not allowed to place any sports wagers on Virginian college teams, like the Virginia Tech Hokies, regardless of league. However, you can place college sports bets on out-of-state college teams so long as they are not playing against a Virginia team. There is also a general prohibition against placing live bets or proposition bets on college sports.

More Resources On Virginia Sports Betting

About the Author

Amber Hoffman

Amber is the Managing Editor of Gaming Today. She writes for a variety of websites in diverse industries, including gaming and travel and is a fan of football (not soccer) and Gaelic sports.

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