Legal sports betting arrived on Virginia’s shores in January 2021 when the state’s first online sportsbook launched. Retail sportsbooks followed suit in July 2022, when the first of four voter-approved casinos opened their doors in the state. Currently, two retail and fourteen online sportsbooks are available to players in VA.
Virginia lawmakers were keen to bring gambling to the state to increase employment and generate tax revenues. As such, the General Assembly passed SB 1126, enabling the construction of five land-based Virginia casinos. Yet, this was subject to approval from voters in a referendum in the cities with proposed casino sites.
As part of the passage of the legislation, a study was set up to examine mobile sports betting in VA, which produced findings that increased the appetite for bringing sportsbooks to the state. The study concluded that the sports betting market could reach $400 million by 2028.
In response, the Virginia General Assembly passed SB 384 and HB 896 in March 2020, which legalized sports betting using a mix of online-exclusive licenses and licenses tethered to casinos. It also designated the Virginia Lottery as the state’s regulator. Despite amendments from the Governor seeing the legislation sent back to legislators, it quickly gained approval and became law.
|Regulator||Launch Date||Tax Rate||Registration|
|Virginia Lottery||January 21, 2021||15%||Online or In Person|
Read our complete guide to discovering the best Virginia sports betting app, the sports teams and events you can bet on, and the history of VA sports legislation.
14 sportsbook apps have been launched in Virginia since legal sports betting began in January 2021. These include prominent US operators like FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, and Caesars alongside newcomers like SI Sportsbook, who chose the Old Dominion as the second state to launch in May 2022.
The state lottery can license up to 18 sportsbooks as per Virginia sports betting laws, meaning many more operators may enter the market in the future. There are also provisions for additional licenses to be awarded should an operator partner with a major league sports team that relocates to the state in the future.
|Operator||Launch Date||Online Sportsbook|
|Flutter||21 January 2021||FanDuel Sportsbook|
|DraftKings Inc.||24 January 2021||DraftKings Sportsbook|
|Rush Street Interactive||27 January 2021||BetRivers|
|MGM Resorts||27 January 2021||BetMGM|
|Caesars Entertainment||03 February 2021||Caesars Sportsbook|
|Wynn Resorts||11 March 2021||WynnBET|
|Kindred Group||28 April 2021||Unibet|
|Penn National Gaming||10 August 2021||Barstool Sportsbook|
|Fertitta Entertainment||13 October 2021||Golden Nugget|
|PointsBet||15 December 2021||PointsBet|
|Bally’s Corp||24 November 2021||BallyBet|
|Seminole Tribe||31 March 2022||Hard Rock Sportsbook|
|888 Holdings||09 May 2022||SI Sportsbook|
|Super Group||18 May 2022||Betway|
While online sportsbooks launched fairly quickly in Virginia, retail sportsbooks took a little longer to open as they were included in casino plans for four sites approved by voters in November 2020. In July 2022, Hard Rock Sportsbook opened a temporary venue in Bristol.
Further retail sportsbooks are planned for Danville, which will be operated by Caesars and is expected to have a retail sportsbook. Additionally, Norfolk can soon see land-based gambling venues operated by the Pamunkey Indians, who currently have no sports betting partner but could choose to partner with a sportsbook operator in the future.
Betting in Virginia has been online-exclusive for nearly eighteen months, making it the second state to operate an online-exclusive sportsbook market in the US alongside Tennessee. Despite that, retail sportsbooks began to open in July 2022. Find out more about how you can bet in VA safely and legally below.
Yes, online sports betting is legal in Virginia. The first sportsbooks launched in January 2022, and currently, 13 online sportsbook apps are available.
You can bet on all major professional leagues in Virginia, including NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB. You can also bet on other sports, like NASCAR, MMA, Soccer, Golf, and Tennis.
While bets on college sports are permitted, you cannot bet on in-state college teams in Virginia. If a tournament like the College Football Playoff or March Madness has teams in its field that are in-state, you can bet on the games from the tournament, providing they don’t involve VA teams. You cannot, however, place prop bets on college events.
To bet on sports in Virginia, you need to be over 21 and within state lines. There are also restrictions in place to prevent certain people from wagering, including those who are criminally barred from betting and those in self-exclusion programs. You are also banned from betting if you have a close affiliation with a sports organization, like coaches, players, and referees.
Virginia sports betting operators use official league data to enable their sportsbooks to offer live in-game data, stats, and up-to-date information that is accurate from major leagues. Genius Sports are the leading provider of official league data to many sportsbooks operating in VA.
When you bet using sportsbooks partnered with Genius Sports, your in-game data will be accurate, enhancing your betting experience.
A sports betting handle indicates the total amount wagered over a specific time. It’s a great way to measure interest in sports betting in a state. Virginia’s handle has been growing since the launch of sports betting in January 2021 and hit over $500 million for the first time in October 2022. See VA’s sports betting handle below.
DraftKings Sportsbook opened its virtual doors in Virginia on January 24, 2021, becoming the second operator to launch a sportsbook in the state. Virginia was the twelfth state in the United States to become home to a DraftKings sportsbook, launching with a stand-alone license obtained through the state lottery.
DraftKings’ stand-alone license means it does not have a retail sportsbook in VA, nor are there any plans to open a location at a brick-and-mortar site.
A partnership between the iconic magazine and 888 holdings, Sports Illustrated Sportsbook launched in Virginia in May 2022 through a license from the state lottery. VA was the second state for SI Sportsbook to launch after a launch in Colorado. Upon launch, it became the thirteenth online sportsbook in VA.
Its operator, 888 holdings, secured its betting license in November 2021 but waited until May 2022 to make its service available to players in the Old Dominion State. It partnered with Virtual Entertainment Partners, a small, women-owned, and minority-owned business (SWaM) that received special licensing consideration under Virginia sports betting laws.
FanDuel was the first sportsbook to launch in Virginia on January 21, 2021. Its operator, Flutter, obtained a license with the state lottery to launch its sportsbook in VA thanks to a partnership with Washington Commanders. That deal allowed it to launch before other operators under the state betting law.
Virginia was the eleventh state where FanDuel had launched. In addition to its partnership with the Commanders, it signed a partnership with nearby DC United of the MLS in October 2020, which saw a sportsbook open at its home stadium, Audi Field.
BetMGM was one of two sportsbooks to launch on January 27, 2021, six days after the launch of online sports betting in Virginia. Its operator, MGM Resorts, did not partner with a casino or sports franchise to launch its online sportsbook, instead preferring to obtain a stand-alone license with Virginia Lottery.
Despite this, it has been making partnerships to win bettors over in VA, signing a collaboration with the nearby Washington Nationals to become its official sports betting partner. The deal also saw a retail sportsbook open at Nationals Park.
On February 3, 2021, William Hill became the fifth entrant into Virginia’s regulated sports betting market. As Caesars purchased William Hill in 2020, the app rebranded to Caesars Sportsbook in August 2021. Caesars Sportsbook’s operator, Caesars Entertainment, also applied to construct a Caesars-branded casino in Danville, which voters approved in November 2020.
The partnership with this future casino allowed it to obtain its license with the Virginia Lottery. It was the second sportsbook with a land-based casino to launch after BetRivers. The Danville casino approval permits the opening of a retail sportsbook on-site, so it is expected that a Caesars-branded retail sportsbook will open at this location.
Caesars has also been developing its relationships slightly further afield, as it signed a multi-year partnership with Washington Capitals, Washington Mystics, and Washington Wizards in September 2021. This partnership included opening a retail sportsbook inside the Capital One Arena.
Australian sportsbook operator PointsBet made its way across the pond and became the eleventh operator to launch in the Old Dominion State in December 2021. Its operator obtained its license with the state lottery through Colonial Downs, owner of the racetrack which hosts the Virginia Derby. VA was the eighth state for PointsBet to launch.
PointsBet made moves to win the hearts of bettors in VA through its brand ambassador, Virginia native Allen Iverson. The sportsbook also has an agreement with NBC Sports, which sees PointsBet odds and branding across NBC regional broadcasts in VA and its national Sunday Night Football broadcast.
Operated by the Kindred Group, Unibet launched in Virginia in April 2021. The state was the fourth to launch the sportsbook after Pennslyvania, Indiana, and New Jersey. After Unibet obtained regulation with the state lottery as a stand-alone license, the sportsbook became the seventh stand-alone sports betting operator to launch in VA.
Rush Street Gaming, the operator of BetRivers, launched its sportsbook on January 27, 2021, one of two to launch that day and the third overall in Virginia. The operator obtained its license with the state lottery to open an online sportsbook and a casino in Portsmouth, which voters approved in November 2020.
TwinSpires is a pari-mutuel horse racebook that allows you to wager on races across the US. Churchill Downs operates TwinSpires and purchased the Colonial Downs racetrack in New Kent in February 2022. You can use TwinSpires to bet on a whole host of racing events from within Colonial Downs, including the Virginia Derby and thoroughbred racing.
TVG is another site that offers pari-mutuel horse racing betting to players in Virginia. You can use its dedicated app or easy-to-navigate desktop site to bet on racing events in VA, like Harness Racing at Shenandoah Downs and Virginia Gold Cup. Flutter Entertainment operates TVG, which means you can use winnings from Flutter-operated FanDuel Sportsbook to bet on horse races.
Despite no sports major league sports team playing in Virginia, two teams currently have their headquarters in the state; the NFL’s Washington Commanders (based in Ashburn) and the NHL’s Washington Capitals (based in Arlington).
The proximity of Washington DC means that the capital’s other teams, the NBA’s Wizards and MLB’s Nationals, also are popular with fans in the Old Dominion State. Read our overviews of the most popular teams in VA below.
The Washington Commanders are a member of the NFC East Division of the NFL and are headquartered in Ashburn, Virginia. The team was founded in 1932 as Boston Braves but moved to Washington DC in 1937.
The team won its first championship in its first season in DC, beating the Chicago Bears to win the 1937 NFL Championship. Despite losing in 1940 to the Bears by a record margin of 73-0, Washington would get revenge against Chicago, winning its second-and-last pre-merger championship in 1942. They would return to the championship game in 1943 and 1945, losing both.
Washington would suffer a long decline after the 1945 season and would wait until 1972 to reach its first Super Bowl, losing to the undefeated Miami Dolphins. It would be a decade before the team would lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy, winning Super Bowl XVII against the Dolphins.
They would win two more Super Bowl rings in 1987 and 1991. In 1996, the team moved from its long-time home of RFK Memorial Stadium to its current home, FedEx Field.
The Washington Capitals are a member of the NHL’s Eastern Conference Metropolitan Division with headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. The Capitals were founded in 1974 as an expansion franchise and struggled early in their history before reaching the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in 1982.
The team would then become a regular postseason contender and win their first divisional championship in 1989, then called the Patrick Division. Washington would move to the Capital One Arena in 1997, having initially played their home games at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland.
Nine years after their first divisional championship, the team would win their first conference championship in 1998 but lost the subsequent Stanley Cup Finals to Detroit Red Wings in four games. The Capitals would win the first of three Presidents’ Trophies in 2010 and finally won their first Stanley Cup Finals in 2018, ending a 44-year wait to bring the cup to DC.
Playing its home games in neighboring Washington DC, the Washington Wizards are popular with basketball fans in Virginia. The team is a member of the NBA’s Eastern Conference Southwest Division.
The franchise played its inaugural season as Chicago Packers in 1961 and has undergone several name changes. They were renamed the Zephyrs the following season before moving to Baltimore in 1963 to become the Baltimore Bullets. Ten years later, they became the Capital Bullets for a season as they moved to Washington DC, then the Washington Bullets in 1974, and finally, the Washington Wizards in 1997.
The team won a single NBA championship in 1978, four conference titles, and eight divisional titles. The Wizards play its home games at the Capital One Arena.
Due to its proximity to Virginia, the Washington Nationals are the most popular baseball team in VA. The Nationals were established in 2005 and are the eighth major league baseball franchise based in Washington, DC.
Multiple short-lived franchises had a presence in the capital in baseball’s early days before a new team called the Senators became a charter member of the American League in 1901. The AL Senators reverted to the Nationals name in 1905 before moving to Minnesota to become the Twins in 1960. They were replaced by another Senators franchise, who moved out of DC a decade later to become the Texas Rangers.
Finally, in 2005, the Montreal Expos moved to Washington to become the Washington Nationals, returning MLB to the capital. Since the relocation, they have won one World Series title in 2019 and three divisional titles.
Despite Virginia not having a major league team, VA has hosted several premier sports events. These include many MMA and pro wrestling events, NASCAR, and games between the state’s two major college football programs, the ACC’s University of Virginia Cavaliers and Virginia Tech Hokies, representing Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Read our summary of the best VA Sporting Events below.
Virginia has hosted five Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) events since the inaugural event in VA in 2010. Three have been held at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, and two at Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk.
The first event in VA was UFC Fight Night 20 in January 2010, with 8,078 watching as Gray Maynard defeated Nate Diaz by a split decision in Fairfax. “The Korean Zombie,” Chang Sung Jung, defeated Dustin Poirier by technical knockout at the second UFC event on Fuel TV 3 in May 2012. The final event in Fairfax was UFC Fight Night 63, where Chad Mendes defeated Ricardo Lamas in April 2015.
Subsequent events have been held at Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk. These include UFC Fight Night 120 in November, where Dustin Poirier defeated Anthony Pettis in front of 8,448, and UFC Fight Night 169 (or UFC on ESPN+ 27), where Deiveson Figueiredo defeated Joseph Benavidez in front of 7,098 spectators in February 2020.
Virginia has also hosted four World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) events: three at Richmond Coliseum and one at Norfolk Scope.
The first WWE event in Richmond was held in May 1997, when 14,381 watched “In Your House 15: A Cold Day in Hell.” Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Undertaker fought at the event at Richmond Coliseum. The second was the only WWE event held at Norfolk Scope, “The Great American Bash,” in June 2004, featuring The Dudley Boyz and The Undertaker.
In December 2006, WWE returned to the Richmond Coliseum for “Armageddon,” where 8,200 watched Batista and John Cena defeat King Booker and Finlay in a tag team match. Finally, in September 2016, Backlash was held in Richmond, notably the first Backlash event to air on the WWE’s online streaming service, WWE Network.
The Commonwealth Cup is the name of the trophy given to the winners of the college football rivalry game between Virginia Cavaliers and Virginia Tech Hokies. The game was first played in 1895, and the teams have met annually since 1970.
Before 1970, Virginia and Virginia Tech had different primary rivals: Virginia Tech’s Thanksgiving game was against VMI, and Virginia played the South’s Oldest Rivalry against UNC. VMI was reclassified as an FCS team, and the rivalry lost prevalence. When Virginia Tech joined the ACC in 2003, the series was moved to Thanksgiving.
The two sides are part of the ACC’s Coastal Division, and games rotate between Lane Stadium and Scott Stadium each year. The schools’ Thanksgiving matchup has been an unofficial ‘Coastal Championship Game’ a few times since 2003, like in 2019 when unranked Virginia ended a fifteen-game losing streak against the Hokies to reach the ACC Championship game.
Virginia hosts three races in the NASCAR Cup Series regular season: the Toyota Owners 400, Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief, and Federated Auto Parts 400.
The Toyota Owners 400 is the first race in VA in the regular season and has been held annually at Richmond Raceway since 1953. Richard Petty has won the race the greatest number of times, with six wins between 1961 and 1975.
The second race of the season held in VA is the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400 at Martinsville Speedway. The race was first held in 1950 and is unique because of its trophy: the winner of the race has won a grandfather clock since 1964.
Stock car racing returns to Richmond Raceway for the Federated Auto Parts 400, traditionally held around Patriot Day. The race is the youngest of the three, inaugurated in 1958. Richard Petty has also won this race the most times, with seven wins between 1967 and 1974.
Virginia has a state-wide self-exclusion program, the VEP (Voluntary Exclusion Program), which allows players to prohibit themselves from using online sportsbooks. This program is also extended to other forms of gambling, like the lottery, pari-mutuel horse racing, and legal casinos.
You can self-exclude for a period of two or five years or enact a lifetime ban. To add yourself to the VEP, you’ll need to fill out a form available on the Virginia Lottery website. For lifetime exclusions, applications must be made in person at lottery headquarters by calling the VEP office to set up an appointment.
Once self-excluded, you cannot enter any sportsbook facility until the end of the exclusion period. An individual cannot be removed from the self-exclusion list once added, but players will be automatically withdrawn at the end of their exclusion period.
In addition to this, you can also access support through third-party organizations such as the National Council on Problem Gambling, the Virginia Council on Problem Gambling, or Gamblers Anonymous.
Yes, sports betting is legal in Virginia. It became legal in April 2020, and the first sportsbooks launched in January 2021. Currently, 14 online sportsbooks are available in VA alongside two retail sportsbooks - the Hard Rock Sportsbook in Bristol and BetRivers Sportsbook in Portsmouth.
Plenty of VA sportsbooks offer a generous welcome bonus for new players and promotions for existing players. For example, if you’re a new customer with DraftKings Sportsbook, you can grab a $50 free bet after your first deposit, plus a 20% deposit bonus up to $1,000. Also, FanDuel Sportsbook players can get a second chance free bet up to $1,000, and BetRivers offers a risk-free bet up to $500.
Caesars Sportsbooks players can get a risk-free bet of up to $1,250, and rewards for existing players include free hotel stays and meals at restaurants at Caesars locations nationwide. BetMGM players get access to exclusive MGM Rewards and a $1,000 free bet alongside a free $10 weekly bet for existing players.
Of course, you can play DFS in Virginia. The Old Dominion was the first state to legalize DFS operators with the passage of the Fantasy Contests Act in 2016. This legislation means you can use DFS operators like FanDuel and DraftKings legally.
The Virginia sports betting tax rate is 15%. The tax revenue allocation in the Commonwealth is split: 97.5% is deposited into the VA general fund, and 2.5% is deposited into the Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund, operated by the Department of Behavioral Health.
With fourteen sportsbooks available to players in Virginia, you have plenty of choice on where to place your bets. Major operators like DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars, and BetMGM are popular with bettors and offer a wide range of markets.
Despite this, newcomers like PointsBet can offer unique features like PointsBetting, where the more accurate your points line bets are, the more profit you can win. With so much choice, it’s wise to shop around and look for an excellent welcome package and bonuses for existing players.
You sure can bet with DraftKings Sportsbook in Virginia. The operator launched its online sportsbook on January 24, 2021, marking Virginia as the 12th state to operate a DraftKings Sportsbook in the US. You must be over 21, have a social security number, and be physically located within state lines to play in VA.
Absolutely, you can bet legally with FanDuel Sportsbook in Virginia. The site launched on January 21, 2021, and if you are over 21 and located within state lines, you can bet with its sportsbook.
Yes, you can use BetMGM in Virginia. The sportsbook launched on January 27, 2021, and players within state lines who are over 21 can place sports bets with the sportsbook.
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