The countdown to legal sports betting is on for Virginia residents. In a best-case scenario, those physically located within the state’s boundaries will be able to place a wager by mid-December, just in time for the last couple of weeks of the NFL regular season and ahead of the projected start of college bowl season.
When will Virginia sports betting launch?
Sports betting will officially become legal in Virginia on July 1, courtesy of the passage of HB 896 and SB 384 by the state legislature earlier in the year and the subsequent signing of the legislation into law by Gov. Ralph Northam. The law is the result of multiple years of deliberation in the normally conservative state.
The next step towards the official rollout of the industry is the drafting of rules and regulations that sportsbooks will operate under. The state’s Lottery Board, which will oversee the industry in Virginia, recently stated it expects mid-December to be the earliest possible launch date for mobile sports betting apps in the state.
How Virginia sports betting works
Bettors will not have to be residents of Virginia to place a wager, but they will have to be located within the physical boundaries of the state at the time of the wager. Sportsbook operators will utilize geolocation technology to ensure those attempting to place a bet are within the jurisdiction.
Virginia sports betting will be possible through both mobile and retail sportsbooks. The law that has been enacted permits the Virginia Lottery Board to award a minimum of four and a maximum of 12 sports betting licenses in the state. Up to five of the possible 12 licenses could be awarded to casinos that were also legalized for the cities of Richmond, Norfolk, Danville, Portsmouth and Bristol during the legislative session. However, each is still pending voter referendums in November to be definitively authorized.
Notably, as per Virginia sports betting law, all wagers will be graded utilizing official league data.
Additionally, there could be licenses eventually awarded to a major league sports team or owners of a major league sports facility. Any licenses granted under this provision would not count toward the aforementioned 4-12 authorized by the law. Perhaps the most prominent potential candidate for such a license is the Washington Redskins. The team already has a practice facility and offices in Ashburn and could eventually be building a new stadium within the state as well.
As per the letter of Virginia sports betting law, members of the following leagues/organizations would be allowed to apply for a license to operate a sportsbook in a facility for which construction begins on or after July 1, 2020:
Additionally, NASCAR was added to the list by Governor Northam when he made certain revisions to the original versions of the bills that were presented to him. The state’s existing auto raceways in Martinsville and Richmond will be an exception to the aforementioned July 1 rule and allowed either to launch their own retail sportsbooks on site or partner with an online operator that enters the state.
Where will I be able to make legal sports bets in Virginia?
The state lottery has announced mid-to-late-December as the earliest possible launch date for the industry in the state. Preceding that period, rules and regulations will be worked on. The latest expected completion date for those policies is Sept. 15, following a public-comments phase that will run through mid-August.
How old do I have to be to place sports bets in Virginia?
Virginia law dictates that bettors must be at least 21 years of age to place a wager on a regulated sportsbook in the state.
How do I begin sports betting in Virginia?
Once sportsbooks are announced being live in Virginia, bettors will be able to sign up for an account by going to the operator’s website or downloading the mobile app. Bettors will have to provide all required information, which will include name, address, phone number and e-mail address, as well as their social security number for tax purposes.
How do I withdraw my winnings?
Each operator lists its withdrawal methods and conditions on its web portal and mobile app. Typically, operators provide users with a multitude of withdrawal options that include:
- Prepaid card supplied by the operator
Withdrawal options can vary by jurisdiction.
Can I use my online account outside of Virginia?
Users will only be able to place a bet with their online account while physically located within the state of Virginia. Operators will utilize geolocation technology to ensure bettors are within the state at the time they are attempting to place a wager.
Will the Virginia sports betting odds be competitive?
Virginia’s sportsbooks will strive to offer competitive odds despite some steep challenges in the form of start-up costs. A substantial $250,000 licensing fee for the first three years of operation and background checks for key members of each operator’s organization that could cost as much as $50,000 per principal of the company are part of the existing law.
The law defines a principal as anyone with at least a 5.0 percent ownership stake in the company “any individual who is employed in a managerial capacity for a sports betting platform on behalf of a permit holder.” Because of reported pushback from several would-be applicants, there may be a narrowing of the definition of what constitutes a principal.
Operators will also be subject to a 15.0 percent revenue tax on adjusted gross revenue, allowing operators to exclude the 0.25% of handle from the federal excise tax.
What sports can I bet on in Virginia?
Virginia’s sports betting bill allows for wagers on a wide variety of leagues/sports, including the following:
- All NCAA sports not involving Virginia colleges
No proposition bets on college sports will be allowed under Virginia law. Operators must also grade all bets using official league data.
What types of sports bets can I make in Virginia?
Once sports betting is officially made available in Virginia, it is expected residents will have access to the following types of wagers
- Moneyline: A wager on which team will win the game outright, regardless of margin of victory.
- Spreads: A bet based on the projected margin of victory that is set by oddsmakers.
- Totals: A bet on the combined score and whether it will be over or under a line set by sportsbooks.
- Futures: A bet on an outcome that has not yet happened.
- Parlays: A parlay is a bet that encompasses wagers on at least two separate sporting events. For a parlay wager to be deemed successful, all the bets that comprise it must be winning ones. If any wager within a parlay is a losing one, then the entire parlay is null and void.
- Props: Proposition wagers are bets that are typically based on metrics such as individual statistical milestones and team milestones. Prop bets will not be allowed on college sports under Virginia’s sports betting laws.
In-game wagering and live betting
In-game wagering and live betting is permitted under Virginia sports betting law, with the exception of college sports.
What companies will offer sports betting?
It remains to be seen what operators will apply for a sports betting license in Virginia. However, based on developments in other states where sports betting is already up and running, it’s conceivable at least a significant number of the following operators could have a presence within the state’s sports betting space:
- DraftKings Sportsbook
- FanDuel Sportsbook
- Fox Bet
- theScore Bet
- William Hill
Where will Virginia tax revenue go?
Under the law, sports betting revenue will be distributed as follows within Virginia:
- 95% will go to the state.
- 2.5% will to the Virginia Lottery Board for costs related to its ongoing oversight of the industry.
- 2.5% will go to a problem gambling and support fund, which will be administered by Virginia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.