How We Rate Sportsbooks in Virginia
Virginia’s fledgling sports betting market is poised to become one of the largest in the nation. In such a competitive field, even the sharpest bettors have difficulty identifying the cream of the crop sportsbooks.
Our team has created a cutting-edge ranking system to assist you in making an informed decision. We evaluate each candidate from the inside out and update the list as needed. Below is a breakdown of the aspects we consider in our selection process.
Regulation and Licensing
The safety of our readers trumps everything else. As such, we refrain from offshore sportsbooks and suggest that you do too. Sports betting websites that operate outside of the United States are borderline illegal for Virginia residents. And beyond that, overseas brands provide no meaningful protection to their customers.
Whereas state-licensed brands adhere to strict regulations regarding data privacy, responsible us gambling apps, transparency, and payout times, overseas brands don’t have to comply with these guidelines. Generally speaking, if you’re at odds with an offshore sportsbook, you’ll have no recourse, as they are not held accountable to anyone. Even worse, if it goes out of business (which has happened before), you can say goodbye to your money.
To avoid unpleasant situations, make sure you stick with legal and regulated sportsbooks. We certainly did.
Sports and Market Selection
Casual bettors may not care much about a cricket tournament in India, but a seasoned pro might. While some bookmakers stick to a specialized market selection, others offer odds on sports you never knew existed. To cater to various niche betting tastes, we always pick the second category. Whether it’s major sports or off-the-wall markets, you won’t miss a beat with our recommended books.
Bonuses and Promotions
Best sportsbooks in VA are offering a wealth of promotions to entice bettors in and gain an advantage over their competition. Odds boosts, reduced juice, play pools, free bets, parlay boosts, insurance, bets, massive welcome bonuses — you name it, they have it. Check out the terms and conditions, though, of any bonus and the sportsbook you are considering. Knowing all the facts first will help us decide which operators offer the most generous deals.
Quality of Odds
A sportsbook’s odds quality plays a huge role in our evaluation process. No matter the sport or competition, our top-rated betting apps consistently offer competitive lines and odds. And this is true for both pre-match and live betting. Joining these sites will maximize your potential profits and help you find value bets.
Mobile Betting Apps
Most sportsbooks develop apps tailor-made for mobile devices that are highly customizable and built from scratch. Standalone iOS and Android betting apps have a better UI and are faster than repackaged desktop versions, making them especially convenient for live betting. Our team has selected the best-optimized mobile apps in Virginia — the ones that will make your betting experience on the go as hassle-free as possible.
Most sportsbooks in Virginia provide basic, cookie-cutter betting options. However, a few innovative sportsbook sites offer unique betting features. These include same-game parlays, live streaming, cash out, bet builders, points betting, and more. The more of these handy tools the site offers, the higher it will be ranked on our list.
The more payment options you have at your disposal, the easier it will be for you to get in on the action and ultimately cash out your winnings. Withdrawal processing speed is an important factor to look at as it varies greatly between sportsbooks. In an ideal world, you should be able to receive your hard-earned cash within a couple of days without paying any transaction fees.
Brief History of Gambling in Virginia
Virginia ranks in the middle of the pack in terms of gambling laws. They’re not as liberal as in New Jersey or Nevada but aren’t as restrictive as Utah and Hawaii. Among the legal forms of gambling are state lotteries, DFS betting, charitable gambling, keno, off-track betting, and horse racing at licensed OTB facilities. In addition, the Old Dominion passed legislation in 2019, allowing online and retail sports betting and the construction of five retail casinos.
The earliest reference to gambling in Virginia is in the 16th century and dates back to British colonists who bet on everything, from piquet to loo, all-fours, and other card games. During that time, horse racing was also hugely popular in the state. Williamsburg was the first city to build a racetrack. After 1897, Virginia legislators banned horse racing altogether, and for the next century, betting on the sport went underground.
Not much had happened in the Virginian gambling scene until 1973 when bingo became legal for charitable purposes. Since then, the state has gradually introduced several forms of gambling.
In 1987, Virginians voted in favor of the state lottery in a referendum. Due to a positive outcome, the Virginia Lottery has been established as the main governmental regulator. Two years later, horse racing was legalized again and the Virginia Racing Commission was created to monitor it.
There were efforts in 1995 to introduce a bill to legalize riverboat casinos in Virginia, but without success.
DFS contests and operators became legal in 2016 when the state legislature passed the Fantasy Sports Act. Then, in 2020, lawmakers approved bills authorizing online and retail sports betting and land-based casino gaming.
Sports Betting in Virginia
Before 2020, Virginia had seen two attempts at legalizing sports betting, but neither was successful. The legislation has all come together with the passage of SB 384, although the original model will change over time.
In any case, here are a few highlights from Virginia’s sports betting history:
- November 2018: PASPA was repealed in 2018, making it possible for states to introduce sports betting on their own territory.
- March 2019: Gov. Ralph Northam signed SB1126 into law, which authorizes the construction of up to five casinos in the state. Gambling establishments are permitted in Danville, Portsmouth, and Bristol by law. Tribes in Richmond and Norfolk can open additional venues. The establishment of these casinos requires the support of the local community in their respective cities.
- November 2019: It was reported that sports betting could bring the state $400 million in yearly revenue in November 2019, prompting lawmakers to pursue legislation to legalize the pastime. Delegate Mark Sickles pre-filed HB 1638. The measure would have allowed up to five sportsbooks to operate in the state. A House Rules Committee hearing was held on the measure, but it didn’t gain much momentum.
- March 2020: Virginia General Assembly and Senate passed HB 896 and SB 384 to allow sports betting in the state. Two weeks later, Gov. Ralph Northam sent the amended version of the bills back to the lawmakers, who approved them in a one-day veto session on April 22.
- July 2020: The Virginia Lottery released a preliminary draft of sports betting regulations. Several sportsbook operators, stakeholders, and representatives from major leagues have voiced their opinions on the proposed guidelines.
- August 2020: The 35-day public comment period ended. The final draft would become available a month later. The agency would start accepting licensing applications in a month’s time.
- October 2020: The application deadline passed. Allegedly, 25 operators applied, including various high-profile brands.
- January 2021: Online sports betting goes live in Virginia. FanDuel received temporary exclusivity in the market due to its partnership with the Washington Football Team. Several elite books have entered the fray since.
Sports Betting in Virginia: License and Tax Information
Legislators have provided a framework for Virginia to become one of the strongest markets in the country. The regulation specifically calls for 4-12 online-only permits; these operators are not required to be tethered to any physical entity in the state, handpicked by the Virginia Lottery. Two of the state’s NASCAR tracks (Richmond Raceway and Martinsville) are eligible to apply for these licenses, too.
When the retail casino sector gets off the ground in VA, more sportsbooks will be allowed to open. All five properties are eligible to submit applications for licenses.
The remaining permit would be awarded to a professional sports franchise that may relocate to Virginia in the future.
Applicants must pay a $250,000 license fee followed by a $200,000 renewal fee after three years. Northam’s amendment mandates anyone declared a ‘principal’ pay an additional $50,000 fee. The term ‘principal’ pertains to individuals with a 5% or greater stake in an organization.
The tax rate is 15%, which is in the medium range compared to the country’s standard. The majority (97.5%) of tax revenue will go to the general fund. The Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund will receive a small portion (2.5%).
The bill mandates the use of official league data. This means that all licensed sportsbooks must obtain data feeds from the designated governing body to settle in-play bets.
How to Get Started in a Virginia Online Sportsbook
It’s dead simple to sign up at Virginia sportsbooks, even if you’ve never placed a bet before. In case you need a quick reference, we created a mini-guide that will explain how to do it:
- Choose a sports betting app. You cannot choose wrong, regardless of the site you pick, as they’re all great in their own regard.
- Visit the sportsbook’s website or download its app. If you’re accessing the platform through a PC or laptop, just load the site on your browser. Android and iOS users can download the standalone apps; the links are usually available somewhere on the homepage.
- Sign up. During the registration process, you will need to enter personal details like name, address, cell number, and last four digits of your SSN. You may also need to enter the welcome bonus promo code in one of the fields.
- Deposit. After completing the signup, go to the deposit section to fund your account. You’ll have several payment methods to pick from.
Start betting. Once you top up your account, open the betting program and find a market you want to wager on. The slip will probably pop up on the right side of the screen when you select the desired bet. Make sure to double-check the stake amount before submitting it. Good luck!
Eligibility and Geolocation
The legal betting age is 21. You don’t have to be a resident of Virginia to bet, but must be physically located within the state during the wager placement. Operators will use geolocation software to track down your exact location with pinpoint accuracy.
Virginia Sports Betting Partnerships With Professional Teams
Although Virginia doesn’t have representatives in the Big Four leagues, it does have several pro teams competing in lower-tier competitions. The two Washington teams – the Capitals and the Washington Football Team – are also based in Virginia.
On January 26, 2021, Washington Football Team entered into a partnership with FanDuel. This marked the first-ever deal between an NFL team and an online sportsbook. Under the terms, FanDuel got market access in addition to stadium signage at FedExField and a special section at the stadium.
WynnBET is the second sportsbook in Virginia to establish a partnership with a sports organization. The gambling brand teamed up with both Virginia tracks in NASCAR and is scheduled to open betting shops at these venues with bars, oddsboards, and big screens.
What Types of Bets Can I Make in Virginia
The possibilities are nearly endless when it comes to the types of bets you can make with Virginia sportsbooks. Let’s go over the main options:
- Moneyline bets: Betting on the team or player to win the event straight up. The perceived favorites are labeled with a minus sign on the moneyline, whereas the underdogs carry a plus sign and offer a bigger payoff. If you see a huge pricing divergence between the two sides, that indicates a lopsided affair.
- Point spread: Often referred to as ‘handicap’ bets, point spread weakens the favorite side by deducting a few points from its total while adding them to the underdog’s total. That way, the matchup becomes more balanced. Say the Washington Football Team are -5.5 favorites; they’d have to win by at least 6 points for a bet on them to be deemed successful.
- Totals: This is a bet that considers the game’s final score or the combined score of both teams. The sportsbooks set an estimate, leaving it up to the bettors to decide whether that number is too high or low and choose between ‘over’ and ‘under’ based on that prediction.
- Props: These side bets don’t necessarily impact the game’s outcome. They revolve around quirky occurrences or statistical performances of a given athlete. For instance, you can bet on LeBron James scoring a triple-double in an NBA game.
- Futures: If you want to make the big bucks in sports betting, futures are worthy of consideration. These bets offer monster payout potential but are incredibly difficult to hit because they cover a slew of games. Popular futures markets include season/tournament winners, MVPs, and more.
- Multi bets: Combine two or more single wagers, and you’ve created a combo bet. There are three main types of multi bets, parlays, teasers, and round robins. With each, the payout increases with the number of added selections (legs).
- Live bets: Live bets are made on events in full swing. Distinct characteristics of these wagers are their ever-changing odds and lines. These fluctuations occur as the game plays out.
Are Any Bets Off-Limits?
The only carve-outs in the law regarding types of bets allowed are related to college betting. Namely, Virginia forbids betting on in-state college teams, similarly to New Jersey. Furthermore, prop betting is prohibited at any collegiate event, as it is in Iowa and Indiana.
For the time being, esports betting is not allowed in the Old Dominion. The same goes for political betting. Conversely, it’s possible to put a few bucks down on DFS contests, as the lawmakers approved a fantasy sports bill in 2016.
Responsible Gambling in Virginia
The Virginia Lottery requires all state-licensed sportsbooks to follow strict responsible gambling protocols. As a result, operators offer a variety of tools to prevent problem gambling, such as deposit limits, wagering limits, and time limits. However, things may still get out of control even after taking these measures. If that happens, you might need to consider a cool-off period or a self-exclusion.
VIRGINIA ONLINE BETTING
Is sports betting legal in Virginia?
Yes, Virginia legalized sports betting on April 22, 2020. FanDuel kicked off the market in January 2021; other brands soon followed suit.
Who regulates sports betting in Virginia?
The Virginia Lottery regulates all sports betting activities in the state, both online and land-based. This agency reviews and issues licenses and oversees licensed operators.
What is the minimum age for placing a bet in Virginia?
You have to be 21 or over to place a real money bet in Virginia.
Are Virginia betting sites safe?
Yes, all Virginia-based sportsbooks are trustworthy and secure. The Virginia Lottery would not have it otherwise. This organization conducts a detailed screening of operators before awarding them a provisional license.
Do I need to be a Virginia resident to bet with VA sportsbooks?
No, just located in the state when placing a bet. You can register from anywhere in the US.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do Virginia betting sites have any bonuses and promotions?
Yes, Virginia sportsbooks dish out a bevy of promotional offers to new and ongoing customers. The deals range from welcome bonuses to odds boosts, free bets, cash contests, and insurance bets.
Do I need to register in-person to bet online?
No, you don’t. Virginia doesn’t impose an in-person registration rule as Illinois did.
Do VA sportsbooks have apps?
Yes, all Virginia sportsbooks offer standalone mobile apps for iOS and Android. You can download them via the sportsbook’s website.
Does Virginia have retail sportsbooks?
Not at the moment, although it will when retail casinos get up and running.
How quickly can I cash out my winnings from a VA sportsbook?
The withdrawal transaction speed varies between different methods. For most payout options, the turnaround is 48 hours.