Virginia Sports Betting: How to Bet & Unlock Free Bets January 2021

FanDuel Virginia is Now Live

As of January 21st of 2021 FanDuel Virginia is live! You can visit our FanDuel Virginia Sportsbook Page to find out all the information that you will need to get betting.

Virginia is for Lovers and Sports Bettors

virginia flagVirginia was the second state to legalize online sports betting in 2020, following Washington. Virginia sports betting is scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2021. A number of the top sportsbooks will be entering the state upon launch including, DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, and BetMGM Sportsbook.

Sports betting in Washington D.C. began in May 2020. Maryland is presenting the option to voters in an upcoming election referendum. The bordering state of Virginia felt the pressure to address their own options for allowing sports bets to be legal.

They saw how other states across the country, states where legislators either resisted sports gambling or were slow to act, watched revenue walk across state lines. Early in 2020, Virginia joined the state of Washington to become the second state to launch this year. Let’s look at the sports betting situation in Virginia.

Confirmed VA Mobile Apps
Projected Bonus
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DraftKings Sportsbook
$1,000 Deposit Match
FanDuel Sportsbook
$1,000 Free Bet
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$500 Bonus
$500 Risk-Free Bet (Expected)

Mobile Sports Betting Apps in Virginia

The window for submitting an application to secure a mobile sportsbook license to operate in Virginia ends in October. We expect a stellar list of prominent sportsbooks to be ready to launch when the gun sounds to open legal sports betting in the Commonwealth. Here are six sportsbook apps that have been steadily opening in states that launch online sports betting.

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DraftKings Sportsbook App

DraftKings parlayed a massive daily fantasy sports customer base into one of the most successful sportsbook operations in the U.S. We expect DraftKings to not only launch immediately upon approval in Virginia but to be highly successful as well.

DraftKings will extend to new Virginia sportsbook registrations the same $1,000 welcome bonus package. The package contains a $1,000 deposit match bonus that is matched at a 20 percent rate. This means that a $5,000 first-time deposit will earn you $1,000 in bonus money.

Launching Soon

FanDuel Sportsbook App

fanduel sportsbookLike its DFS rival, FanDuel will be part of the Virginia sportsbook launch. There are no 100 percent guarantees, but FanDuel has taken the lead in nearly every state where they have been granted a license to open their sportsbook app. Virginia sports fans can expect FanDuel to extend its same welcome bonus of a $1,000 risk-free first bet.

FanDuel will likewise be a high priority as the operator of a physical location if voters approve any of the five pending referendums. The FanDuel platform repeatedly scores near the top of sportsbook app reviews. Expect FanDuel to be highly competitive in Virginia.

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BetMGM Sportsbook App

betmgm sportsbook apple icon 150x150BetMGM brings an international pedigree to the Virginia sports betting market. They operate the sports betting part of MGM Resorts International. MGM is one of the largest betting and casino businesses in the world. Their reputation will be a key to their Virginia success.

MGM already has a regional presence at the MGM National Harbor in Maryland. This should bring enough awareness to give MGM an inside angle to launch the BetMGM sportsbook in Virginia. BetMGM will include a $500 risk-free first bet with all new Virginia registrations.


William Hill Sportsbook App

william hill small mobileWilliam Hill has a solid reputation as an internationally recognized bookmaker. The U.K. based company has been operation for more than 80 years. William Hill has climbed to the top, as one of the largest sportsbooks in the United States.

The welcome bonus offer extended to sports bettors in currently legal states should hold for new Virginia accounts as well. With a $250 deposit, you earn a $500 free bet. There is also a promotional offer of up to a $300 risk-free first bet for registering.

FoxBet Sportsbook App

foxbet promo codeFoxBet is another sports betting app that will bring a national presence to the Virginia sports betting market. The direct tie to Fox Sports and the National Football League could prove an enormous boost to FoxBet’s possibilities for success in the Virginia market.

FoxBet will also welcome new Virginia accounts with a $500 risk-free first bet bonus. FoxBet is one of the betting platforms that post odds for rugby games. Northern Virginia Eagles’ fans will find this most appealing.

PointsBet Sportsbook App

pointsbet appPointsBet is expected to bring its unique betting format to Virginia as well. The idea of being rewarded for bet accuracy is an enticing way to win larger cash payouts. That’s the basic formula behind PointsBet’s pointsbetting format.

PointsBet is offering the traditional risk-free first bet up to $500. However, they will also extend to new Virginia account registrations a risk-free $1,500 opportunity to try out pointsbetting. PointsBet will offer the traditional betting lines, but Virginia sports fans should be excited to test out PointsBet’s unique way to win more money.

Virginia Sports Betting Legal Timeline

betting timelineVirginia is prepping to shift into high gear for a sports betting launch. There is an unofficial estimate that by the proposed launch date of online sports betting in January, there could be up to 18 betting choices for sports bettors. Let’s take a quick look at the legal timeline for how we got here. Like many states, discussion over legal sports betting whispered through legislative bodies even before the U.S. Supreme Court lifted the ban.

However, despite the removal of a federal ban on sports gambling in May 2018, many states were still unable to push new laws across the finish line. Virginia’s lawmakers debated sports betting proposals for most of 2019.

It took until April 2020, for a pair of bills to pass both chambers. The governor made a couple of minor adjustments to each piece of legislation. Lawmakers signed off on the handful of changes and announced on July 1, 2020, that sports betting would become legal in Virginia.

One inherent part of the new law was a two-month period before any official process could begin. The Virginia Lottery Board was designated to oversee the writing of regulations. Between July 15 and September 15, a series of drafted regulations were crafted.

The Lottery Board published the final list of Virginia sports betting regulations in September. Two months later, the Lottery Board opened a two-week window for sportsbook apps to make application for a license.

There are twelve open license spots in the current legislation. Five additional licenses would be granted, if five communities opt for physical sportsbooks on a November ballot referendum. One license has been left open as a potential bargaining ploy in hopes of luring a professional sports franchise to Virginia.

Most feel this is an open-ended offer to the Washington Football Club to relocate from Washington, D.C., building a new home in Virginia. Since there are no immediate provisions for physical sportsbook locations, this means likely sportsbook apps do not need to partner with a state-approved casino.

This is one positive aspect of Virginia’s sports betting law. However, the legislation also limits certain types of betting. There will be no betting permitted on any of the Virginia college teams. In addition, the popular in-game betting offered by many sportsbook operators is also prohibited in Virginia.

There are still a few questions about which sportsbooks will grab up the 18 available spots in Virginia. However, there’s an appealing $250,000 license that earns a three-year active status. In addition, Virginia has imposed a reasonable 15 percent tax on sportsbook revenue. Virginia is fast becoming a prime sport for sportsbook lovers.

Virginia Sports Betting Market

Virginia has an overall population of roughly 8.5 million residents. Over one million of these individuals live in Virginia’s five largest cities. Some may mistakenly assume the cities with the largest number of residents would include Richmond, the state capital.

However, Virginia Beach has nearly twice as many residents as any pairing of the next three biggest cities combined. Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Richmond all hover just under a quarter-million residents, while Virginia Beach continues to press closer and closer to 500,000.

Newport News sits in the number five spot, but only a few thousand residents ahead of Alexandria and Hampton. All four of Virginia’s most populated cities rank with the U.S. top-100. If location matters, it’s clearly part of Virginia’s sports betting projected future.

Of the five most populated cities in the state, only two are on the short-list of locations with pending referendums to allow onsite casinos. These proposed casinos will most likely house any brick-and-mortar sportsbooks in Virginia.

Three of the cities on this list have less than 100,000 residents, with Bristol boasting barely over 16,000. However, when targeting Virginia’s sports bettors, Bristol sits right on the I-81 line bordering Tennessee. In fact, many Bristol residents call Tennessee their home state.

This is a prime location to draw bettors across the border from the Volunteer State. Danville has nearly three-times the number of residents as Bristol, but likewise, it borders a state that currently prohibits sports gambling.

Expect North Carolina residents to be ready to cross state lines to bet on their favorite teams. Nevertheless, the city pushing the location angle more than any of the others is Portsmouth. Portsmouth sits adjacent to the large Norfolk area.

Both bids for physical sportsbook locations in Norfolk and Portsmouth will draw directly from Virginia’s largest city, Virginia Beach. A direct connection across the Chesapeake Bay to two of Virginia’s top-10 biggest cities, Hampton and Newport News is also a bonus for Portsmouth.

Regardless of where the actual brick-and-mortar locations launch, Virginia has led with online sports betting ahead of physical sportsbooks. The necessity to partner with a physical casino to secure an online license does not exist in Virginia.

Every state that has launched online sports betting shows a dramatic difference in revenue from online sports betting, as opposed to bets placed in person. It is dramatic. While Virginia doesn’t have a professional team of its own, Baltimore and D.C. are prime targets of Virginia sports lovers.

Ironically, a professional team in Virginia that could draw immediate sports betting interest plays in one of America’s more obscure sports. Some sportsbooks are posting lines on rugby games. The Northern Virginia Eagles play in the USA Rugby League.

Now, there are a number of college teams in Virginia. Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Virginia Commonwealth are part of Division I NCAA conferences. Richmond is another Virginia college team that plays a major college schedule.

George Mason, James Madison, William and Mary, and Old Dominion are also DI schools. There is only one major issue that is currently part of Virginia’s sports betting rules. Virginia college teams are off-limits for sports bettors.

However, until this changes, Virginia residents will not be able to place bets on their home state teams. Many sports betting enthusiasts will watch the progress of Virginia’s online-only sports betting opportunities. The state’s draw to multiple professional team fan bases should offset the inability to bet on Virginia college teams.

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Key Aspects of Legal Sports Betting in Virginia

It wasn’t exactly an easy road for Virginia to finally end up legalizing sports betting. After a number of failed attempts in previous years, Governor Ralph Northam finally helped Virginia get over the hurdle. Once Northam received both bills, he sent them both back to the state legislature with his own recommendations. It didn’t take too long for both chambers to agree to Northam’s changes and help push the bills along. One of Northam’s biggest changes was adding in a $50,000 background checking fee for sports betting operator’s major employees. The Virginia Lottery Board is tasked with determining what exactly qualifies as a major employee.

Under the new sports betting laws in Virginia, teams that are part of the four major sports leagues (MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL) and located in Virginia can apply for a sports betting license. One of the biggest reasons this was added to the bill was to try and attract the Washington Redskins to relocate to Virginia. Another addition that Governor Northam added was to include NASCAR tracks into the bill. Lawmakers approved this and now the state’s two major racetracks (Richmond Raceway and Martinsville Speedway) can apply for a sports betting license as well.

Under the bills that passed, Virginia will be requiring a $250,000 licensing fee. Not only is that a reasonable price but unlike other states, that $250,000 is an annual fee. Instead, that fee will be good for a three-year window, essentially boiling down to just over $83,000 a year average.

Sports betting revenue will be taxed at 15 percent, which is more on the higher side. The good news for Virginia bettors is that mobile sports betting is also legalized. This is a big win for Virginia as it has been clear across the country that mobile betting is the preferred betting method from the majority of sports bettors. Without online betting, states are hindering revenue. With the current Coronavirus situation, it is also important to have mobile betting as it is unknown how long casinos will be closed or limiting the number of people inside.

Fun Facts:

1. An interesting part of the passed bills is a call for casino expansion in Virginia. Five cities are now eligible to build new casinos (Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Richmond).

2. On the less popular side, Virginia will also require the use of official league data for live-betting purposes. Betting on in-state college teams is not permitted.

3. The Virginia Lottery Board is responsible for overseeing legal sports betting in Virginia and they have a deadline to come up with rules and regulations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is sports betting legal in Virginia?

Yes. Sports betting became legal in Virginia on July 1, 2020. Virginia legislative rules require 60-days for regulations to be written and amendments to these regulations posted. There is a 90-day window required to finalize regulations. The first day of mobile betting was on January 21, 2020.

Is mobile sports betting legal in Virginia?

Mobile sports betting legislation passed in July 2020. Temporary regulations were announced on July 15, with an update released a month later. The Virginia Lottery Board published final regulations on September 5. On October 15, the application process was opened, pending an expected launch in January 2021.

Are there physical sportsbooks in Virginia?

To date, there are no physical sportsbook locations open in Virginia. However, on November 3, residents in five Virginia cities will vote to approve the building of casinos in their cities. Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Richmond will immediately become likely places for physical sportsbooks in Virginia.

Who manages sports betting in Virginia?

Under the current legislation approved by Governor Ralph Northam, the Virginia Lottery Board will be entrusted with the management responsibilities for the state’s sports betting operations. This will include the current online sportsbook application process, and those licenses issued to physical locations.

Who can bet on sports in Virginia?

Virginia legislators set the minimum age to bet legally on sports at 21 or older. However, there is not a Virginia resident restriction on signing up for an account. A sports bettor only needs to be inside the Virginia border to register and bet using a sportsbook app account.

Can I bet on Bovada in Virginia?

Offshore sportsbooks are not legal in Virginia. The safety and security of Virginia sports’ fans is one of the compelling reasons behind the lawmaker’s decision to make sports betting legal in the state. While a bettor may not be prosecuted, Bovada is not legal in Virginia.

What sports can I bet on in Virginia?

The Virginia sports betting law will permit sports bets to be placed on any professional sport that is posted by the sportsbook operators who secure Virginia licenses. However, the law strictly prohibits betting on any of Virginia’s college teams, including in-game betting on college sports.

Where does the tax revenue go from sports betting in Virginia?

Tax revenue generated by legal sports betting in Virginia will be dispersed according to need. All money will be funneled through the Virginia Lottery Board. Some revenue will go into the Virginia education fund, while local governments in need of money will also be in line for funds.

What is the best sports betting mobile app in Virginia?

There are 18 potential sportsbook licenses in Virginia. DraftKings and FanDuel consistently have been at the top of sportsbook app ranking lists. FanDuel owns numerous months as the top revenue generator in New Jersey, and DraftKings has earned multiple reviews as the top-rated app for Apple devices.

When will online sports betting start in Virginia?

The timetables for various stages awaiting the launch of Virginia sports betting have gone exactly as written. There is a 90-day period between the final approval of legislative regulations and the actual launch of the first sports bet. That day will happen on January 15, 2021.

Calvin is a sports betting enthusiast that has been in the business for over 10 years. He has created successful betting formulas for seven different sports. way too serious Packers, Mets, and Avalanche fan that hates everything Pittsburgh, despite living there.