Virginia online sports betting laws
These are incredibly exciting times in Virginia. Online sports betting began in the Old Dominion in January 2021 and sportsbooks are vying for a piece of the action. Early figures for turnover in the state are extremely promising, with $265 million wagered in the first full month of Virginia sports betting.
Administrative law and government relations attorney
Jennifer has a degree in Journalism from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, and graduated from George Washington University Law School, Washington, D.C, in 2005. She's been living in Las Vegas helping clients in the casino and gaming industry, as well as other regulated businesses, across Nevada for over 15 years.
She has authored and co-authored numerous articles and books on US gaming law, including most recently, The Law of Regulated Gambling: A Practical Guide for Business Lawyers, American Bar Association (2020), and That (Expletive) Broad: Women Who Broke Barriers in the Casino and Gaming Industry (2020).
Is sports betting legal in Virginia?
Yes, Virginia sports betting was legalized in July 2020 and the first sportsbooks here went live in January 2021.
Is online sports betting legal in Virginia?
Yes, Virginia online sports betting is now legal – indeed, it’s the only way you can place a bet here.
How old do I have to be to place a bet in Virginia?
You need to be at least 21 years old to be able to place a sports bet in Virginia.
Decide which online sportsbook you would like to use – there are several to choose from.
Register for an account. You will need to submit details such as the last four digits of your Social Security number to prove your ID and age.
Deposit some funds in your account – there are various banking methods available.
Take advantage of any sign-up offers and bonuses for new customers.
You’re good to go – start betting!
Virginia joined the ranks of states with legal sports betting on July 1 2020. This came a couple of months after state governor Ralph Northam signed SB384 and HB896 into law. Regulations for sports betting in the Old Dominion were approved by the Virginia Lottery Board later in 2020 and the first Virginia online bets were taken on January 21, 2021.
FanDuel was the first online sportsbook to commence operations in the state, but it was soon followed by some of the other big beasts of the digital betting world. DraftKings, BetRivers, BetMGM, and William Hill were among those who were active less than a month after FanDuel opened its doors.
The main reason why Virginia sports betting is being conducted online at first is that there are no casinos in the state. It was only in 2019 that legislators approved the concept of casino gambling in Virginia. Final approval was given by the voters in the 2020 election.
Construction of four casino resorts is under way in Bristol, Danville, Portsmouth and Norfolk, and the doors are expected to open in 2022. A fifth location, in Richmond, will follow a year later. It is expected that the casinos will have sportsbook partners, and it is also feasible that retail sports betting might be available at sporting venues. In the initial stages, however, Virginia sports betting is strictly online only.
Virginia, with a population of more than 8.5 million, and proximity to some major sports teams, is seen as a hugely attractive market for sportsbook operators. The good news from their point of view is that there is plenty of opportunity for them to open their doors in the state with up to 17 sportsbook licenses available in Virginia.
The cost of operating here is also not a deterrent. Sportsbooks pay a $250,000 licensing fee and a tax rate of 15% on gross gaming revenue. It is no surprise there was such a rush from sportsbooks eager to start trading in Virginia once sports betting here was legalized.
The primary indicators of the appetite for Virginia sports betting are off the scale. In April 2021 it was announced that the first full month of action, February of that year, saw $265 million wagered on sports.
That makes Virginia the fastest state in breaking the $200m monthly handle mark. In just over six weeks, Virginia sportsbooks had already taken more than $15 million in gross gaming revenue. That equates to at least $2.25m in tax revenue for the state.
Yes they are. The IRS has made it abundantly clear that all forms of gambling winnings are seen as taxable income. It is advisable to keep an accurate record of all your winnings – and losses – so that you can declare them on your annual tax return.
The legislation that legalized Virginia online sports betting stipulated you must be at least 21 years old to play. When you sign up for a sportsbook account, you will be asked to provide ID that proves you are old enough to wager.
You have to be located within Virginia state lines to be able to use one of the sportsbooks licensed to operate here. That means it's essential you don't disable the geolocation technology on your desktop or mobile device. Each sportsbook will use that facility to check your location regularly and clear you to carry on wagering.
You can enjoy Virginia online betting on college sports – but not if a team from Virginia is involved. The other stipulation regarding college sports is that no prop bets are allowed on any college match.
Wagering on politics is prohibited across the US. So no Virginia sportsbook is allowed to offer wagers on events such as elections, either at home or overseas.
Virginia played a central role in the general acceptance of Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) in the US. In 2016 it was the first state to pass a law specifically allowing and licensing DFS, setting a trend that many other states have since followed.
Virginia is the most populous state in the US that isn’t home to a top-level professional sports team, but that doesn’t curtail the appetite for DFS here. There are a host of big-name sports teams in neighboring states for Virginians to follow, while Virginia itself is home to several Division I NCAA programs. There is no shortage of reasonably local choices when it comes to making your DFS choices in Virginia.
The NFL is popular everywhere in the US, of course, and despite the absence of teams in their state, Virginians have teams nearby to cheer. The Washington Football Team, whose practice facility is in Virginia, play not far away – and may build a new stadium in the state. The Baltimore Ravens also attract ample support.
For the overwhelming majority of people, any form of gambling including sports betting is a fun, enjoyable leisure activity. For a small number, however, it can lead to addiction and emotional and financial issues.
The need to encourage responsible gambling and to provide resources for people who find they have problems is recognized by states that have legalized sports betting. Virginia has several agencies in place that offer help to gamblers and professionals who work in the industry:
The Virginia Council on Problem Gambling works to ensure widespread treatment for problem gamblers and their families and offers a free helpline.
The Virginia Lottery has a strong focus on gambling responsibly and offers links to agencies such as Gamblers Anonymous and Gam-Anon.
The National Council on Problem Gambling pulls together various local resources and also offers a confidential helpline.
PASPA is thrown out by the US Supreme Court, opening the way for states to legalize sports betting.
Despite expectations that Virginia would move swiftly towards legalization, no real progress is made apart from a study bill to analyze the viability of sports betting.
2020 - April
The Virginia state legislature approves of sports betting and the state governor signs it into law.
2020 - July
Virginia online sports betting officially becomes legal.
2020 - September
The Virginia Lottery Board approves sports betting regulations.
2021 - January 21
Online sports betting is live in Virginia as FanDuel begins operating a sportsbook in the state.
2021 - January 24
DraftKings launches its sportsbook in Virginia.
2021 - January 27
BetMGM and BetRivers both start operating in Virginia.
2021 - April
The lottery announces that $265 million was wagered on sports in February – the first full month of operation.
Until the casino resorts are completed – by 2022 at the earliest – sports betting in Virginia is online only. The list of sportsbooks available is growing all the time and includes the following:
|Online Sportsbook||Partner Organization|
|FanDuel Sportsbook||Washington Football Team|
|BetRivers||Rush Street Gaming|
Yes, you can. Virginia online betting was legalized in 2020 and has been operational since January 2021. Several sportsbooks are now operational in the Old Dominion, which means there are various apps and Virginia betting sites to choose from if you want a wager on top sporting action.
Yes. DraftKings was one of the first sportsbooks to offer Virginia online sports betting once it became operational in January 2021. DraftKings is also one of the leading Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) providers in the US, and is licensed to offer this service in Virginia.
Yes, you can. Virginia sports betting was legalized in 2020 and the first bets were placed in January 2021. Virginia is the most populous state without a pro sports team, but there are plenty of big four sides in neighboring states, offering you a wide choice of almost-local interest when you want a bet.
Yes, you can. FanDuel was the first sportsbook to start taking bets in Virginia in January 2021. You can bet on a range of popular sports with FanDuel, which is also a leading Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) operator. DFS is legal in Virginia, and FanDuel holds one of the state’s DFS licenses, so you can take up that option with FanDuel too.