Virginia sports betting is now live, and sports fans can bet on a variety of apps from some of the top names in the industry.
Online sports betting officially launched last year with the debut of FanDuel. Shortly thereafter, three other operators launched including BetRivers, BetMGM, and DraftKings. William Hill (since rebranded as Caesars Sportsbook Virginia) then went live in February, followed by WynnBet in March 2021. Unibet became the seventh app to go live in Virginia in late April 2021.
Online and in-person sports betting became legal in Virginia thanks to the passage of bills HB 896 and SB 384. The two bills outline all major regulations and restrictions for sports betting activities and allow up to 12 sports betting operators to apply for licenses.
However, the law reserves five of the licenses for Virginia casinos. Those casinos are all expected to launch over the next few years. Although retail sports betting is legal, it will take some time for retail sportsbooks to be built as there are no live casinos in Virginia yet.
VA Sports Betting Apps 2022
There are eleven sportsbook apps currently live and available for Virginia players, with three more coming soon. Here is the full list:
- Golden Nugget
- Bally Bet
- Betway (Coming Soon)
- Sports Illustrated (Coming Soon)
- bet365 (Coming Soon)
Best Virginia Online Sportsbook Apps In-Depth
Fortunately for Virginia bettors, some of the best sportsbook apps in the industry are among those available for download in the state. Below, we'll go through the lineup of the best apps currently live in the state and present a general overview of what each one has to offer.
DraftKings is one of the most well-known and largest sports betting operators in the world, certainly one of the most famous in America. This operator has an extensive and robust mobile app, as well as special bonus bets and events for those who use the app as opposed to its desktop website. DraftKings also provides daily fantasy sports in Virginia.
DraftKings features excellent odds and good market depth and variety, plus an intuitive user interface for its mobile app. It's a big dog in the country, and Virginia isn't any different.
BetMGM also launched in Virginia, which wasn't a surprise as it's known for its international gambling presence. Obviously, the name value of the MGM brand is very high, given all of the successful properties in Las Vegas.
BetMGM offers excellent opening bonuses and a good rewards program for consistent users of the app. Currently, it offers a $1,000 risk-free bet as a welcome bonus for new users.
Caesars is another name that is synonymous with gaming excellence due to its reputation in Las Vegas. The online sportsbook definitely meets, if not exceeds, even these lofty expectations.
Caesars Sportsbook Virginia offers a smooth app experience, a focus on international sports betting markets that may appeal to novelty-seeking sports bettors, and more. Caesars Sportsbook is also well known for their promotions. Their welcome bonus is always one of the best around, and their Caesars Reward program is generally regarded as the best in the industry.
BetRivers, owned by Rush Street Interactive, launched in Virginia in late January 2021. It also plans to host in-person sports betting at a brick-and-mortar casino currently under construction in Portsmouth, Virginia.
It has one of the best loyalty programs in the industry, as well as a sleek, clean mobile app interface. On top of that, it offers arguably the best bonus offer around: a 100% deposit match bonus up to $250 with an industry-leading 1x playthrough requirement.
FanDuel has one of the most user-friendly apps in the industry. Alongside special wagers and a very generous opening bonus potentially worth up to $1,000, FanDuel offers deep markets for most major sports (although betting on Virginia-based college teams is not allowed.)
Like DraftKings, FanDuel also offers daily fantasy sports. Both of these operators are titans in the state, especially for users who enjoy DFS as well as sports betting.
Online Sports Betting Partnerships In Virginia
Not all online sportsbooks have partnerships. The legislation actually calls for a minimum of four sports betting sites/apps to be online only. The VA Lottery Executive Director Kevin Hall gets to determine exactly how many licenses are approved, based on what will bring in the most revenue for the Old Dominion.
Here's the current rundown of partnerships:
- DraftKings: None
- BetMGM: Washington Nationals
- Caesars: Washington Wizards, Washington Mystics, Washington Capitals
- BetRivers: Rush Street Interactive
- FanDuel: Washington Commanders
- PointsBet: Colonial Downs
- Unibet: None
- Golden Nugget: None
- Barstool: None
- Bally Bet: None
- WynnBET: NASCAR
- Betway: None
- Sports Illustrated: None
- bet365: Hard Rock
Voters in the city of Norfolk have opted to partner with the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, which is set to construct a brick-and-mortar casino and potentially run sports betting through its own operations.
Guide To Sports Betting Online In Virginia
The sports betting industry in Virginia is pretty similar to that in other states with sports betting such as Colorado. However, Virginia sports betting operators are not allowed to offer in-state college sports betting of any kind nor any college prop betting for out-of-state college programs.
Sportsbook Bonuses In Virginia
Virginian sportsbooks offer several types of opening bonuses depending on the operator in question.
Risk-free bets are a great welcome bonus, but just make sure that you understand exactly what the sportsbook means by risk free.
Basically, if your first bet loses, the wager is refunded. Note that the refund isn’t issued in actual cash and is instead awarded in site credit. For instance, say that you place an initial $200 using the FanDuel app. If you win, you win! If you lose, you’ll get that $200 back in site credit to be wagered again.
If you lose your second bet with that money, you do lose the money. So you want to be sure to still only wager within your means. Still, the fact that you basically get two tries to win your first bet is a great deal.
When a sportsbook offers a deposit match, it will give a new user site credits equal to their very first deposit. Many sportsbooks will offer a 100% deposit match up to a certain amount. At BetRivers, for example, you get a 100% deposit match up to $250. So if your first deposit is $250, you will receive $250 in site credits.
Some sportsbooks will offer a percentage of your first deposit back. DraftKings, for example, offers a 20% deposit match up to $1,000. So you would need to deposit $5,000 to receive the full bonus amount.
One provision to check is the playthrough requirement. The playthrough requirement tells how many times you have to use the matched funds before you can withdraw them. BetRivers, for example, only has a 1x playthrough requirement. So in essence, once you have made one bet with your site credits, you get to withdraw the winnings.
A 1x playthrough is rare, which is why many consider BetRivers' welcome bonus to be one of the best in the industry, even though the total amount is lower than competitors. DraftKings offers up to $1,000, but the playthrough requirement is 5x.
Bet Money and Get Money
This type of promotion is often tied to big sporting events but not always. For example, for March Madness, many sportsbooks will have a welcome offer where if new users bet $5 on any NCAA tournament game, they get $200 whether the bet wins or loses.
On rare occasion, a sportsbook will allow new users to make a small wager on any sport they like to receive a certain bonus.
Free Bets or Free Site Credit
This is every bettor's favorite type of bonus. As the name suggests, you get a free bet. Usually there are caveats that you have to bet on certain odds (e.g., -200 or longer), but that is the case with most welcome bonuses. If you win the free bet, you collect the winnings. If you lose, you aren't out anything.
Sometimes these free bets are no deposit bonuses. These are considered the unicorn of the sports betting world. More often, you have to make a small deposit to trigger the bonus. With DraftKings, for example, you deposit $5 and receive a free bet worth $50.
No matter what, free bets or free site credits are offered in small amounts (generally $50 or less). They are simply intended to let new users try out the platform without losing any of their own money.
Caesars Sportsbook is most likely to offer first bet insurance, usually for a pretty high amount. With this type of bonus, your first bet is protected. If it loses, you receive site credits and can try another bet.
Main Local Teams And Sports In Virginia Sports Betting
Virginia’s sports betting legislation is quite clear: no in-state collegiate betting is allowed whatsoever. This may come as a bummer to many Virginia football and basketball enthusiasts. However, Virginia sportsbook operators still offer generalized out-of-state college sports betting, with the sole exception of prop bets.
However, Virginia sports betting enthusiasts still get to enjoy sports betting for all major US sports markets, particularly football and basketball. In addition, Virginia residents are able to place wagers on NASCAR events and other markets, including MMA fighting, soccer, darts, and more.
It’s all dependent on the operator in question. Certain operators, like DraftKings, offer exceptional market depth and variety for sports betting enthusiasts. Other operators, such as Hard Rock (which has yet to launch in Virginia), may allow more limited sports betting opportunities due to fewer resources.
Given Virginia’s sports-focused culture, it’s likely that many professional teams and leagues will reach out to various sportsbook operators for periodic bonuses or promotional events.
Status Of eSports Betting In Virginia
eSports betting is typically rare in any state that offers sports betting since most operators don’t find these markets to be particularly popular. However, larger operators like DraftKings do offer eSports betting in various states, including Virginia.
Virginia is not particularly known for its eSports markets, as it’s a state mostly focused on markets like football and NASCAR racing.
Legal Betting Versus Illegal Betting In Virginia
In a nutshell, illegal betting sites aren’t regulated by any authoritative body. This means that there’s no one to prevent them from stealing their users’ personal information or legitimate winnings. If an illegal betting site user has a grievance with an operator, they can’t turn to anyone to get their complaint resolved.
Furthermore, illegal betting sites don’t always have excellent digital security. In contrast, legal betting sites must pass regulation and inspection by a state’s regulatory body. For Virginia, that’s the state’s Lottery Board.
This means that every legal sportsbook to launch in Virginia will have excellent digital security and SSL certification. This will protect their users’ personal and financial information, lowering the likelihood of issues like identity theft.
Even better, legal sportsbook operators can use official league data when calculating their odds. This provides a more legitimate and potentially worthwhile experience for sports betting enthusiasts.
How Do I Know That Online Sportsbooks In Virginia Are Fair?
Who Regulates Legal Online Sports Betting In Virginia?
The Virginia Lottery regulates sportsbook activity within the state. The organization has outlined rules and regulations, including fees (up to $500,000 in total if an operator is approved for Virginia sports betting), tax rate (15%), and more.
The Virginia Lottery is the organization you should contact if you have an issue with any legitimate sportsbook operator.
Why Should I Trust Legal Online Sportsbooks?
Legal online sportsbooks are usually larger organizations with a long history of sports betting. For example, MGM Resorts International has a history of offering legitimate gambling activities that stretches over 50 years.
For another example, DraftKings has had many years of legitimate and safe operation across many US states, offering activities like sports betting and daily fantasy sports. These long histories add legitimacy to any given organization and indicate that you can trust them with your money and that they’ll pay you back if you win fairly.
Furthermore, legal online sportsbooks are vetted and investigated by bodies like the Virginia Lottery. They check for signs of corruption or fraud and serve as organizations you can turn to if you have a grievance with any licensed sportsbook.
How Do I Get Paid If I Win?
Any future online sportsbooks will allow you to withdraw your winnings using a few different methods. Most of these are things like ACH or electronic check transfers, although some also allow direct bank transfers if you link a bank account to your app.
Others may offer more flexible withdrawal methods, including PayPal or Skrill transfers. However, most sportsbooks offer fewer withdrawal methods compared to deposit methods.
Once retail casinos launch and bring their sportsbooks to in-person enthusiasts, bettors will also be able to withdraw their winnings at casinos’ cash cages.
Virginia Online Sports Betting FAQs
What Kinds Of Online Sports Bets Are Legal In Virginia?
With a few exceptions relating to college sports, Virginia residents will be able to make every type of sports bets and wagers that they expect. These include basic moneyline bets, spread bets, totals, futures, and more.
Furthermore, live betting will be allowed for any apps that support this activity. Certain apps may even allow you to live stream sports events or games directly to your phone or mobile device while you place wagers. It all depends on the operator.
Additional wager types you’ll be allowed to make include
- Round robins
- Prop bets
- And more
Can I Bet On College Sports In Virginia?
It depends. Virginia’s sports betting legislation outlaws in-state collegiate betting of any kind. In other words, you can't make any sports betting wagers for Virginian college or university teams or games.
However, Virginian sports bettors will be able to wager on out-of-state university teams and leagues. Thus, you can still get your college sports betting action so long as your favorite team doesn’t call Virginia home.
Keep in mind that proposition betting for any college teams (even out-of-state teams) is also prohibited under the HB 896 and SB 384 bills.
What Is The Tax Rate For Online Sports Betting In Virginia?
HB 896 outlines a flat tax rate for online sports betting of 15%. Keep this in mind when calculating your taxes if you happen to win big.
Who Can Get A License To Run An Online Sportsbook In Virginia?
Really, any operator can apply, and the VA Lottery decides which will receive a license. All operators pay a nonrefundable $250,000 application fee. They pay another $250,000 fee upon approval.
Is DraftKings Offering Online Sports Betting In Virginia?
Yes, DraftKings officially launched in Virginia in late January 2021, offering both its sports betting app and DFS app to Virginia players.
Is FanDuel Offering Online Sports Betting In Virginia?
Yes. In fact, FanDuel was the first sports betting app to launch in the state. It went to market in late January 2021 shortly before DraftKings, BetRivers, and BetMGM.
You must be 21+. Please Gamble Responsibly. If you think you have a problem, call VA Council on Problem Gambling at 1-888-532-3500