Virginia sports betting begins

Picture courtesy of Heather Gill Photography.

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP)- In all likelihood, Virginians will be able to legally bet on the Super Bowl from the comfort of their own couches this February as the state starts allowing online sports wagering.

The Virginia Lottery is expected to soon give the go-ahead to what will most likely be more than a dozen betting sites to take wagers from Virginians on sports.

Virginians are expected to respond by betting as much as $400 million in 2021.

Online sportsbooks are expected to be available to Virginians within the first few weeks of 2021, just in time for Super Bowl LV on February 7th.

The forthcoming rollout of legal online sportsbooks will certainly be welcomed news for sports bettors in Virginia, however, non-bettors may also be pleased as VirginiaCasinos is predicting that sports betting could bring in approximately $400 million in annual revenue once the market is fully matured – this translates to more tax revenue for the state, which could have long-term benefits.

Online sports betting was first approved by legislators in July 2020. Since then, the state has been finalizing the process including enlisting the Virginia Lottery to oversee all operations related to sportsbooks and land-based casinos. Part of the Lottery’s responsibility is to process license applications and determine who can operate in the state.

Virginia Lottery Director Kevin Hall has indicated that the state has received over two dozen applications but the law only allows for a maximum of 12 licenses (and a minimum of 4). Many expect major gaming players such as DraftKings, FanDuel, BetRivers, and others to be awarded licenses or secure market share via a local partnership.

In addition to online sportsbooks, Virginians can also expect new brick-and-mortar casinos in 2021 (and beyond). The Virginia Lottery is expected to approve licenses for land-based casino operators in early 2021 but these casinos will not have a physical sportsbook on-site. The addition of both land-based casinos and Virginia online sports betting has many experts bullish on the gaming market in the state.


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