Come 2021, Virginia is expected to join a handful of other states with legal, regulated online sportsbooks. That is because state legislators have already passed a law making online sports betting legal in the state and all that is left is wrapping up the implementation process, which should be complete by the end of January 2021 – just in time for Super Bowl LVI in February.
The move to legalize sports betting in Virginia should help the state’s economy as it’s expected to generate up to $412 million in annual revenue (once operators are up and running), which would mean Virginia would receive up to $61.8 dollars in tax revenue.
A Closer Look at Legalized Sports Betting in Virginia
In July 2020, Virginia began the process of implementing new laws that made online sportsbooks legal. Part of this process is to award up to 12 licenses to operators and to formalize the role of the Virginia Lottery, which is the governmental institution overseeing online sports betting in the state.
The Virginia Lottery will be responsible for approving the 12 licenses for online-only sports betting as well as managing up to 8 licenses for land-based casinos with sportsbooks. Online-only and land-based operators will be subjected to a 15% tax rate from the state.
Once legal sports betting is fully operational, operators are expected to generate millions in revenue. In fact, online-based sportsbooks should account for the lion's share of growth and revenue in Virginia – one projection has online sportsbooks accounting for $375 million (of the $400+ million) in annual revenue resulting in $56 million in tax revenue for the state.
Sports Betting Market is Continuing to Expand
In the November 2020 elections, Virginia voters voted to allow the construction of 4 brick-and-mortar casinos. And in 2021, voters will make a decision on a potential 5th casino in Richmond, VA.
Land-based casinos are just one part of the ever-growing sports betting and gaming market. Casinos attract walk-in traffic and hotel guests but they can also apply to operate mobile sportsbooks, which expands their reach throughout the state.
Throughout the country, major gaming players such as DraftKings, William Hill, Barstool, FoxBet, FanDuel, and BetRivers are capturing the market share of the rising online sportsbook market. Virginia is at the center of this boom as 25 operators applied for licenses (and as mentioned above only 12 licenses will be granted).
Who Will Be Granted a Sports Betting License in Virginia?
In a few week's time, we’ll officially know the 12 approved sportsbook operators in Virginia. Below is a look at a few of the major companies vying for a position in the Virginia sports betting market.
BetRivers is a gaming company owned by Rush Street Interactive, an online gaming company known for its several gaming companies, brands, and properties in North America.
Rush Street Gaming has already received approval to proceed with building land-based casinos in Virginia, including a casino property in Portsmouth, VA.
Virginia will likely be home to a large number of sports betting apps. Here are some of the top contenders for a Virginia launch.
DraftKings has quickly become a household name in gaming and sports betting and is continually expanding throughout the country. Time will tell how DraftKings will position themselves in the Virginia market but it’s likely they will focus on getting their own mobile sportsbook approved.
Along with DraftKings, FanDuel is another well-known sportsbook. FanDuel has expanded into states such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania, paving the way for a seamless transition into the Virginia sports betting market.
William Hill is a UK-based gaming company that has emerged as a major gaming and sportsbook company in the United States, especially in Nevada.
Caesars Entertainment and William Hill are currently in a $3.7 billion dollar merger, thus bringing a William Hill owned online sportsbook to Virginia.