“We’re close to the end zone, and once we begin to issue the first of the licenses. Once the sportsbooks feel like they’re ready to go, they can go live,” said Hall.
The Virginia Lottery will oversee all sports betting operations in the Commonwealth. The state does not have casinos in Virginia, so it takes a similar approach to Tennessee and goes with an online sports betting platform only.
There is a chance that the Commonwealth could expand to in-person betting when Virginia expands its gaming industries to allow casinos. For now, the state will only have mobile wagering access.
What Will Virginia Sports Betting Look Like?
Virginia will have a similar sports betting model like Tennessee but should see more sportsbooks launching at the start compared to the Volunteer State.
Hall said that 12 sports betting operators had been approved to enter the state and go live as soon as they feel ready. Virginians must bet within state limits and be 21 years or older to place action. The Commonwealth is not allowing bettors to bet on Virginia colleges but will allow people to bet on college sports, except for in-game betting. Virginia will also not allow betting on the Olympics.
The state is taxing gross gaming revenue from sports betting at 15%. As of writing, experts believe Virginia could see $400 million in revenue in 2021 if sportsbooks can launch in the coming weeks. Taxes are expected to go to the education system. A portion will also go to problem gambling.
Hall said he wants to make sure sports bettors understand that the Virginia Lottery is looking out for them, and he wants to have them protected.
The State Should Prosper
Virginia has the 12th largest population in the U.S., which should give it a great opportunity to thrive in 2021 and beyond. Although Virginia does not have a professional sports team in the four major sports, many Virginians gravitate towards Washington D.C. sports with fans near the Virginia border.
The Commonwealth also has a strong auto racing presence, and is why the betting operator WynnBet partnered with NASCAR and will most likely enter the Virginia betting market this year. Virginia sports fans will get plenty of opportunities to bet on sports despite not getting action on state colleges.
The Commonwealth has passionate sports fans, and it should show in 2021. The goal for Virginia is to go live before the Super Bowl. If sportsbooks can launch before, it will help generate sign-ups for the big game and keep fans interested in NBA and college basketball before baseball season rolls around in the spring.
In the long-term, Virginia could also see in-person betting available. In April, the state expanded gaming laws by allowing five cities in Virginia to build casinos based on referendums. The casinos should be ready for business by the end of 2022 or early 2023, which will open the door for physical sportsbooks.