Virginia sports betting was legalized in 2021. The process of legalization was very tedious; however, an overwhelming number of politicians advocated for the legalization of sports betting. Virginia witnessed nearby states in the mid-Atlantic region of the country thrive from the legalization of sports betting. After the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, Virginia didn’t immediately attempt to implement sports betting.
On the other hand, nearby states like West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey acted quickly. They reaped a massive reward from their swift legalization process. Due to the popularity of sports betting in the surrounding areas, the state legislature knew they could capitalize on this popular form of gambling.
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History of Virginia’s Sports Betting Landscape
Virginia is a state that used to have very strict laws against gambling of all forms, but those laws were changed to offer sports betting. Since the state did not have any casinos at that time, the state decided to launch a mobile-only market. That changed when casinos opened in 2023.
Lawmakers decided to create an industry with 18 potential sports betting licenses, but the state hasn’t seen that many applicants. Online sports betting got off to a huge start, and more growth is expected. Casinos and sports betting is overseen by the Virginia Lottery.
Virginia has had some terrific success in sports betting, but it’s still waiting for a chance to launch new operators.
What Does the Mobile Sports Betting Scene Look Like?
There are currently 14 online sportsbook apps available in Virginia, and a few more sports betting licenses are available. Here is a complete list of the current sportsbook apps available as of January 2024:
- Bally Bet
- Hard Rock
- Sports Illustrated
When it comes to mobile sports betting, the biggest names are leading the way. DraftKings and FanDuel have posted huge numbers nationally, and they are leading the charge in Virginia heading into 2024.
How Does Virginia Compare Regionally and Nationally?
When Virginia first launched sports betting it was just the second state in the country to offer mobile-only sports betting. Tennessee was the other. Today, there are retail sportsbooks at the new casinos in the state.
Virginia averaged over $400 million in total sports betting handle each month in 2022, and that puts the state right near the top 10. States such as New York and New Jersey are always right around $1 billion each month, but Virginia isn’t meant to keep up with those states.
Sports Teams to Bet on in VA
People in Virginia will not be able to bet on local colleges. This isn’t surprising because the state legislature modeled this rule after many other locations where sports betting is legal. The state is packed with Division I colleges, so bettors will be disappointed by this law. However, it will be worth it for people in the state to have the ability to legally place sports bets.
Virginia isn’t home to any professional sports teams. Despite this, two franchises from the District of Columbia are very popular in the state. The Washington Commanders of the NFL and the Washington Capitals of the NHL are the two nearby teams that are heavily supported. Both teams play in Washington DC, but are headquartered in northern Virginia. This has made fans form a special connection with the two squads.
The Washington Commanders are technically located in Maryland, but they are the most popular team in the state. Washington has a history of success in the National Football League, and they always seem to be contenders in the NFC East Division.
Washington is looking to build a new home stadium, and there is a chance that Virginia could be chosen. Either way, bettors in Virginia are always going to be looking for betting options on this team.
The Washington Capitals play in the Metropolitan Division of the NHL’s Eastern Conference. The Capitals have won one Stanley Cup (2017-18) in franchise history. The team has dominated within their division as well. They have won the Metropolitan Division every year between 2015-16 and 2019-20.
FAQ for Betting in Virginia
Is sports betting legal in Virginia?
Yes, sports betting is legal in Virginia. Options include mobile sports betting and sportsbooks at the state’s casinos.
When did sports betting become available to people in Virginia?
The first sportsbook launched in the state of Virginia back in January 2021. All of the sports betting options were through mobile sportsbooks when this industry launched, but retail sports betting is now live.
What’s the legal betting age in Virginia?
To place a sports wager in Virginia, you must be 21 years of age.
Can you place a bet on college sports in Virginia?
You can place a bet on all college sporting events that don’t feature local schools. However, college prop bets are off-limit for all sporting events, even if a Virginia team isn’t competing.
Can I place a bet outside of Virginia if I’m a resident of the state?
You must be in Virginia to place a bet. Your resident status doesn’t determine your ability to place a bet. The only requirement is that you’re located within state borders. The mobile books will use your device’s GPS software to determine if you’re in a legal location.