Virginia Sports Betting

State Information

8,535,519 (2019)
Largest city:
Virginia Beach

Gambling: Casinos & Sportsbook

Year Regulated Gambling:
Bingo (1973), Lottery (1987), Horse racing (1997), Daily Fantasy Sports (2016)
Estimated Gambling Revenue:
$1.6 billion
Gambling Age:
18 for all forms
Online Gambling:
Horse racing and Daily Fantasy Sports

virginia state flag

Now that a few notable names in the online sportsbook industry have gone live in Virginia sports betting. And you may be curious what other online and smartphone sportsbooks are on the way. Since up to 17 sportsbooks are legally operating in the state, the short response is “pretty probably, most of them.”

New Jersey, which was the first to market by providing a favorable business climate for sportsbook owners, reportedly has “only” some 18 virtual sportsbooks working under a regulation that allows up to 42. In addition, find out what Virginia has to offer when it comes to legal sports betting in the state.

History of Sports Betting in Virginia

Horse racing has been a part of Virginian culture since the colonial era. Races were held secretly from the 1500s to 1897, according to sources. Also, the state banned horse racing at the time. However, that did not put an end to any of the illegal activities in all of the counties. It merely pushed gaming into the shadows.

Virginia betting

In 1997, the state legislature voted to allow live and simulcast betting, resulting in pari-mutuel pools on horse races. Colonial Downs first opened its doors to the public on September 1, 1997. There were 13,000 people in the audience. Then, in the late 2000s, the circuit entered into financial troubles and began to reduce live race days. The final thoroughbred race took place in 2013. Finally, Due to a disagreement with the honcho, the style of racing came to an end.

Colonial Downs hosted harness racing until 2014. In the same year, they discontinued the track’s live racing license. And in April 2015, they shut down the off-track betting shop. Then, in November of 2014, OTBs in other areas of the state closed their doors. Colonial Downs, expecting it to remain closed indefinitely. On the said property, there were plans to build a golf course.

Bingo was given authorization in November 1973 as part of constitutional reform. It was among the first games to take place in a matter of months. In November 1987, the voters approved a state lottery. Finally, on September 20, 1988, they sold the initial ticket.

Betting in Virginia

In 2019, Virginia attempted for the first time to legalize sports betting in the state. However, attempts failed, and senators eventually chose to report the possibility of illegal sports betting. Now fast forward to the year 2020. House and Senate passed related legislation, House Bill 896 and Senate Bill 384, which the joint committee approved after several revisions.

A few of the reforms enabled every Virginia pro team to sell sports betting. They included Martinsville Speedway, Richmond Raceway, and NASCAR stadiums in the legislation, even though only The Washington Football Team has a state headquarters. They will have both virtual and in-person sports betting.

In April 2020, Governor Ralph Northam signed the bill, enabling recreational sports betting to begin in Virginia on July 1, 2020. Besides, they wrote the bill to provide up to five casinos in Virginia for the proposed construction.

DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel started accepting bets online only in time for the NFL Championship Weekend in January 2021, bringing sports betting to the entire state. BetMGM and BetRivers were quick to comply, and online operators could soon have up to 12 licenses.

A three-year license to run a sportsbook in Virginia costs $250,000, and each primary staff member must undergo a background check that can cost up to $50,000. If it weren’t enough, they were charging sports betting companies 15% of their profits.

Betting on local college and high school teams is prohibited, but betting on all other professional sports teams from neighboring states is permitted.

Virginia Gambling Laws

In Virginia, you can bet on any of the big sports and a variety of smaller-scale events. Although there are a handful of reminders to keep note of, there are certain limitations you must be aware of.

  • There will be no betting on collegiate games between players from the Commonwealth of Virginia.
  • College sports do not allow live betting or player props.
  • You can only place bets on athletic events, but you can’t bet on topics like elections.

Virginia isn’t the only state that prohibits non-sports wagering. And other nations have followed suit, and betting on votes remains illegal in the United States. We’ve had lots of college laws variations, treating it on a state-by-state basis.

In Virginia, you can’t gamble on in-state teams, making it one of the most conservative laws. New Jersey sportsbooks have enacted a similar strategy, but Pennsylvania sportsbooks do not. So although you won’t be able to bet on in-state teams, you’ll be able to bet on other college basketball and football games.

Sports Betting in Virginia FAQs

Is Gambling Legal in Virginia?

Virginia now has DraftKings, FanDuelWilliam Hill, and BetMGM, and William Hill sportsbooks! For more information on each operator at CasinoWatchNJ and learn more about them. Aside from that, you can also get free bonuses and rewards there.

When would I place a wager on a sporting event in Virginia?

Sports betting became legal in Virginia in April 2020, and you can legally bet on sports in Virginia as of January 2021. It met the deadline set by state officials to legalize sports betting, established early in 2021. In Virginia gambling age, you must be 21 years old to wager on sports.

Is it legal for me to bet online in Virginia?

No, online casino gaming is not legal in Virginia. The commonwealth recently approved in-person casino gaming for 2020, but no online casino gaming plans are currently in the works.