Virginia Sports Betting
Virginia is feeling the momentum and excitement of online sports betting. A state without much of a gambling history is about to become a major player in online sports wagering as online sports betting launched in January 2021.
The Virginia Lottery Board received 25 applications for mobile sports betting permits and many of the top national sportsbook operators are vying in what is expected to be a competitive and lucrative marketplace.
The Virginia Lottery can award up to 12 sports betting permits (FanDuel was the first to launch), in addition to five others that will eventually be awarded to land-based casinos in the state, four of which were recently approved for construction in voter referendums. A pro sports franchise and the state’s two NASCAR tracks may also potentially launch sportsbooks. Vendors were approved January 13, 2021.
How We Pick the Best Virginia Sports Betting Apps
The team at Bookies.com has spent years reviewing sports betting sites across the nation. We know what players want — fair and secure legal sports betting sites with apps that offers the best overall mobile betting experience. Among the key factors we consider:
Safety: Bookies.com only reviews and recommends online sports betting sites that are licensed by the Virginia Lottery Board, which ensures your account and information are safe and secure. We do not recommend offshore betting sites, which are unregulated, offer no consumer safeguards and are best avoided.
Mobile app: Online is the only way to legally make a sports bet in Virginia, so your operator’s mobile betting app must be state-of-the-art and easy to use on both Apple and Android operating systems.
Bonuses and promotions: With a dozen or more operating licenses available, Virginia online sportsbooks will vie in a competitive marketplace. That means bettors should expect a wide range of sign-up bonuses and daily promotions.
Payment options: Depending on your payment method, deposits should appear in your account instantly; withdrawals should be available in a timely fashion.
Prices and odds: Lower prices on moneyline wagers means more money in your pocket. Point spreads vary by site, so shopping for the best odds can provide value.
Is Online Sports Betting Legal in Virginia?
Yes, in fact online is initially the only way to legally bet on sports in Virginia.
State lawmakers approved a sports betting bill in April 2020, and that legislation was signed into law by Gov. Ralph Northam, effective July 1, 2020. The Virginia Lottery Board, which is responsible for licensing and regulation, developed and approved online sports betting rules on an accelerated schedule, and wagering is expected to begin in early 2021.
In November 2020, voters in Bristol, Danbury, Norfolk and Portsmouth approved the construction of a land-based casino in each city. All are expected to offer retail sportsbooks when the casinos open, projected around 2023.
Virginia Sports Betting Apps
The Virginia Lottery Board did not identify the 25 applicants seeking online sports betting permits, but several of the industry’s major players previously indicated interest or have a stake in a potential land-based casino in the state.
Mobile sports betting apps allow players to compare odds, make wagers and execute payments 24/7 from anywhere inside the state. Among the most popular:
Penn National/Barstool: Penn National Gaming purchased Barstool in 2020 and is rolling out the fast-growing brand in several states. That’s expected to include neighboring Maryland, which also legalized sports gambling in 2020.
How to Download a Virginia Sports Betting App
The download process is easy and free whether you use the iOS or Android operating system.
Once you’ve chosen a Virginia online sportsbook, go to the operator’s website to download the app. Apple mobile device users can also download from the App Store. Make sure the app is for Virginia bettors, click on download and install. Ensure that GPS is enabled, so your mobile device will verify that you are wagering from inside Virginia, as required by law.
If you encounter any installation issues, most Virginia sports betting sites should offer tech support via chat, email or phone.
How to Sign Up at Online Sportsbooks in Virginia
Choose a legal Virginia sports betting site and download the app.
You will be guided to create an account and asked to provide some personal information, such as name, a password, email address, home address, date of birth and last four digits of Social Security number (to verify identity and age). After accepting terms and conditions, your account is created.
The next step is to fund your account. All Virginia operators offer multiple banking options. When the funds appear in your account balance, you can claim any sign-up bonus offers and are ready to bet.
What Deposit and Withdrawal Methods are Available in Virginia?
Depending on your payment method of choice, deposits can be instantaneous, withdrawals may take up to 48 hours or longer. Among the most popular payment methods:
What Type of Sports Bets Can I Make in Virginia?
All of the popular sports wagers are available in Virginia, including:
Point spread: A team is favored by a specific number of points, set by the sportsbook. Bettors can choose the favorite or underdog. Point spreads fluctuate depending on the wagering action.
Moneyline: A wager on a team to win a game with no point spread involved. Moneyline prices are set by the sportsbook.
Parlay: A single wager involving two or more teams, all of which must win for the ticket to cash. The more teams in the parlay, the higher the potential payout.
Teaser: A wager in which bettors can adjust the point spread in exchange for lower payoffs. Teaser bets are usually made in a parlay format.
Futures: A bet on a team or event that will be determined at a later date. An example of an NFL futures bet would be wagering on a specific team to win the Super Bowl before the NFL season starts.
Proposition bet: A prop bet is a wager on something that may or may not occur in a specific game, such as which team will score first or how many points a specific player will score.
Does Virginia Offer Live Sports Betting?
Yes, Virginia law allows for live in-game wagering on pro sports. In live betting, wagers are placed after the game has started. Online sportsbooks use computer algorithms to set in-game wagering odds (such as adjusted moneyline prices and point spreads). Be ready to make fast decisions — the action moves quickly.
What Sports Can I Bet on in Virginia?
Virginia sportsbooks offer wagering on all of the major pro sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL), in addition to other pro sports such as soccer (English Premier League, MLS, etc.), motorsports, golf, tennis, boxing, mixed martial arts, cycling and others. Bettors can also wager on most Division I college games and a variety of international sports.
What Sports Can’t I Bet on in Virginia?
- No wagering is allowed on college games involving Virginia-based teams, such as University of Virginia, Virginia Tech or Richmond.
- In-game wagering is prohibited on all college sports.
- No college player proposition bets.
Sportsbook Bonuses to Claim in Virginia
As online sportsbooks compete to sign up new players, bettors can expect plenty of bonus offers and promotions. Many include playthrough requirements, so it’s important to read bonus terms and conditions.
Deposit match: Make an initial deposit and your sportsbook operator will match that amount up to 100%.
Free bet: Offered in different amounts. Generally, if your wager loses, the free bet is lost but your own funds are not. If the free bet wager wins, the winnings are added to your account.
Odds boosts: Odds are boosted on specific games or teams, resulting in more favorable potential payoffs to bettors.
Parlay insurance: If all teams in your parlay win except one, you receive a refund or free bet. Generally, parlays must include five teams or more to be eligible for insurance.
History of Sports Betting in Virginia
2019: One year after U.S. Supreme Court allows states to legalize sports betting, Virginia sports betting legislation is introduced. Bill fails, but lays groundwork for following session.
April 2020: Bill permitting online and retail sports betting is passed by state lawmakers and signed by Gov. Ralph Northam (effective on July 1). Legislators also approve bill legalizing a casino in five Virginia cities, pending voter referendums.
October 2020: Virginia Lottery Board receives 25 online sports betting license applications. The board can award as many as 12 online sports betting permits and has 90 days to respond to each applicant.
November 2020: Voters in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth pass casino referendums (Richmond vote is delayed until 2021). When the casinos are built, each is expected to offer retail sports betting.
January 2021: Virginia online sports betting launches.
Virginia Sports Betting FAQ
How old do I need to be to bet on sports in Virginia?
Bettors must be 21 or older to place a sports bet.
Who qualifies for a Virginia online sports betting license?
Applicants that are selected must pay a $250,000 application fee and 15% revenue tax to operate in Virginia. According to the Virginia Lottery, the selection process is based on each applicant’s experience and success with sports betting in the U.S.; their efforts to solicit minority investors; and expectations for new jobs and tax revenue.
Do I need to live in Virginia to place a bet?
No, sports bettors can live anywhere but must be physically located inside Virginia when placing a legal wager. Geolocation technology tracks a bettor’s location.
What Virginia teams can I bet on?
Though Virginia has no major league sports teams, it’s in close proximity to pro sports franchises in Washington D.C., including the Washington Football Team (NFL), Capitals (NHL), Nationals (MLB), Wizards (NBA), Mystics (WNBA) and D.C. United (MLS). The Washington Football Team and Capitals both have their team headquarters in Virginia. You cannot bet on college contests involving Virginia-based schools.
Is horse racing betting allowed in Virginia?
Yes, horse racing betting is allowed in Virginia. Colonial Downs in New Kent offers live thoroughbred and simulcast wagering, and several off-track betting facilities are available across the state. In addition, Virginia allows residents to bet on horse racing through online wagering platforms such as TVG, TwinSpires and Xpressbet.
Does Virginia have land-based sportsbooks?
Not yet. But referendums to allow a casino in four Virginia cities (Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, Portsmouth) were recently approved and all are expected to offer land-based sportsbooks when the casinos are built.
Is there a cash-out option at Virginia sportsbooks?
A cash-out allows sports bettors to settle a bet for reduced odds before the event is over. Several, but not all, online sports betting sites offer a cash-out option, and its availability will depend on which sportsbooks are licensed by the Virginia Lottery Board.
How will my winnings be taxed in Virginia?
All gambling winnings are subject to federal and Virginia income tax. Sportsbook operators may automatically withhold tax if your winnings on a specific bet reach a certain threshold.
Should I avoid offshore sportsbooks?
Yes, avoid them. Offshore sportsbooks operate without regulation and can shut down at any time, potentially causing bettors to lose their funds with no recourse.
How big can sports betting be in Virginia?
Estimates vary, but state officials have conservatively projected that Virginia sports betting operators in 2021 will handle $400 million and the state will generate more than $55 million in tax revenue, with both numbers expected to rise significantly in subsequent years. Given time to mature, Virginia can become a top-10 sports betting market in the U.S.
Is sports betting legal in Virginia?
Yes. Sports betting in Virginia became legal on July 1, 2020. All legal sports betting will initially be conducted online. The first sports betting sites launched in January 2021.
What help is there for sports betting addiction in Virginia?
Virginia sports betting law provides funding for problem gambling. The Virginia Council on Problem Gambling (www.vacpg.org) is among several support groups available, along with the National Problem Gambling Helpline (www.ncpgambling.org) and Gamblers Anonymous (www.gamblersanonymous,org). Online sportsbooks must include a link that gives bettors the option to self-exclude for a specific period of time.
About the Author
Chet Fussman is a writer for Bookies.com. Fussman is a former horse racing writer and longtime sports editor of the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville. He's a poker and blackjack player and frequent sports bettor, who plans to send the U.S. Supreme Court a thank-you card for clearing the way for states to adopt sports wagering. Fussman's philosophy: Don't let the bad beats overshadow your winning ones.