Is Online Sports Betting Legal in Virginia?
Virginia is poised to follow the path of nearly three dozen states and make it legal to bet on sports but right now online sports betting is not legal in Virginia.
Virginia lawmakers have signaled that they’re ready to discuss legalization in 2019 and there appears to be a growing wave of momentum supporting a new Virginia sports betting bill that has already been prefiled for review.
In this guide to Virginia online sports betting we’ll walk you through all the most important points, including:
- What’s changed in terms of sports betting in Virginia following the US Supreme Court decision in 2018.
- When and how we expect online sports betting to develop in 2019.
- Whether you can bet on daily fantasy sports (DFS) in Virginia.
We’ll also take a look at some of the sports and teams that are popular in Virginia to see where the local betting action will go when legalization does happen.
For more information on how laws are changing in other parts of the country, browse our legal sports betting guides for each US state.
Virginia Legal Sports Betting at a Glance
The first thing you should know about Virginia is that there are no casinos and relatively limited gambling in general. That said, the state has quickly adopted a very progressive attitude towards sports betting.
Virginia is an interesting position with several nearby states, including West Virginia, already legalizing sports gambling, creating a sense of urgency around gambling legalization for the first time in the state’s history.
There’s no real professional sports foothold in Virginia, however sports betting revenue is expected to clear well into the nine figures once everything is up and running.
The state’s sports betting bill, House Bill 1638, has already been prefiled and will be discussed early in 2019. The bill allows for online sports betting and sets out terms for licensing, taxation and other regulations.
Interestingly, Virginia may only offer sports betting online and not in person with oversight being handed to the state lottery. A maximum of five licenses will be issued in every three-year period which means sports betting should be available at more online betting sites than just the state lottery’s.
Virginia Betting Laws Summary
- Sports betting is currently illegal in Virginia.
- A sports betting legalization bill has been prefiled and will be reviewed at the beginning of the 2019 legislature .
- No casinos exist and the only current gambling options include pari-mutuel horse racing betting and a state lottery.
- Daily fantasy sports players can place wagers at DraftKings, FanDuel, and Yahoo!
The Current Sports Betting Situation in Virginia
If you’ve gotten this far it’s obvious that a wave of change is sweeping across the country when it comes to sports betting laws. That’s all thanks to a huge decision by the US Supreme Court in 2018.
When the Supreme Court repealed the federal ban on sports betting known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) it allowed each state to decide for itself what to do with sports gambling.
In Virginia, sports betting falls under the state’s illegal gambling definition of “making, placing, or receiving any bet or wager of money or other thing of value, dependent upon the result of any game, contest, or event, the outcome of which is uncertain.”
That means in order for sports betting to become legal, existing laws must be changed to allow for it. With a sports betting bill already in the works, we may see that happen as early as 2019.
Virginia is different than many other states that have already legalized sports betting because there are no casinos or other gambling establishments operating in the state. A really common strategy in other places has been to construct land-based sportsbooks within existing casinos, and then develop online betting sites to back them up.
That won’t be possible in Virginia and from what we’ve heard, future legal sports betting in Virginia might be done entirely online.
Virginia’s New Sports Betting Bill (HB 1638)
Delegate Mark Sickle has already prefiled the sports betting bill we mentioned before. Let’s take a closer look at the key parts of Virginia’s proposed sports betting legislation:
- Virginia state lottery to oversee online, and possibly onsite, sports wagers.
- Pro sports and non-Virginia NCAA teams will be available to bet on.
- Sports betting revenue will be taxed at a rate of 15%.
- Projections based on a study by Oxford Economics predict annual tax revenue will be roughly $60 million.
- 95% of tax revenue will be allocated towards research projects at state universities.
- 2.5% of tax revenue will go to the state lottery corporation.
- No royalties or integrity fees to be paid to major sports leagues.
- A maximum of give gambling licenses will be issued in the first three years.
- Each license will cost $250,000 with a $200,000 annual renewal fee.
Several bordering states, including West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey have already legalized sports betting, which is believed to have created more urgency around Virginia’s proposed sports betting bill, HB 1638.
The History of Online Sports Betting in Virginia
Virginia is one of less than a dozen current states that does not have tribal or state sanctioned casinos.
Pari-mutuel betting on horse racing and the state lottery have been the only consistent gambling options in Virginia's history. Sports betting has always been illegal in Virginia.
Here are the key points from Virginia’s gambling history:
- 1973 - The state institutes its first laws regarding charitable gambling. Oversight is first given to local government who take the responsibility of overseeing all activity. This responsibility is later allocated to a specific lottery commission in 1995.
- 1987 - State lottery legalized. Profits are to be given exclusively to the State’s education.
- 1988 - Lottery sells first tickets.
- 1989 - Virginia Racing Commission (VRC) is created to handle all pari-mutuel betting on races held out of state.
- 1995 - A bill to legalize riverboat gambling is introduced but it ultimately fails to pass.
- 1997 - Virginia’s first race track, Colonial Downs, officially opens and remains the state’s sole horse racing venue.
- 2003 - Virginia Racing Commission is given responsibility of managing off-track betting facilities.
- 2004 - Horse tracks implement betting kiosks for the first time. Machines are called EZ Betting terminals.
- 2013 - 18 years after the previously denied attempt, a second attempt to legalize riverboat gambling fails.
Which Online Betting Sites Are Legal in Virginia?
As of now there are exactly zero legal Virginia online sportsbooks.
Looking ahead to Virginia’s prefiled sports betting bill, however, it’s clear that when legal sports betting arrives in Virginia it will come in the form of online sportsbooks and betting sites.
Since Virginia does not have any physical casinos, the bill outlines a plan for offering sports betting through online platforms.
The bill also says that a maximum of five licenses will be issued in each three-year period.
We expect all of this to add up to five different options for the best online sportsbooks in Virginia. This is great news for gamblers because it means they’ll have multiple options for where to bet. It also means there will be competition among the best Virginia online betting sites which always means better bonuses and more competitive odds.
To get an idea of the sports betting sites that may one day be available in Virginia, just look at other states that already offer legal online sports gambling.
When legalization comes to Virginia you can expect many of the same options.
Right now people in Virginia can bet on horses using the TVG betting app. Not only can you watch the races in-app, you can also wager on races from over 150 tracks from around the world.
Which Sports Can You Bet on Online in Virginia?
Once legalized, sports betting in Virginia will include tons of different sports from North America and around the world. As noted above, Virginia based colleges and youth sports would be excluded from any legalization bills.
Again, we can look at sports betting sites in other states to get an idea of which sports will be available to bet on. We expect Virginia to allow betting on:
- Minor league sports
Virginia’s biggest sports teams come from college, with the Virginia Cavaliers and the VCU Rams producing respected basketball programs.
The Cavaliers in particular have produced top ranked men’s basketball teams over the last 5+ years, however the school is still searching to breakthrough in the annual March Madness tournament.
If the current sports betting bill passes, however, no betting will be allowed on NCAA teams from within Virginia.
How to Bet on Sports Legally in Virginia
While it’s currently illegal to bet legally on sports, HB 1638 bill sheds some light on how gamblers will place legal wagers in the future. As of now, the plan is to introduce sports betting exclusively through an online app or platform.
This would not be an entirely unique approach, especially given that other states who have historically banned physical casinos are now looking to legalize sports betting post PASPA. More specifics about how to bet on sports in Virginia will come to light once the bill is passed.
When it does happen, the signup and betting process will be simple and convenient:
- Choose a Virginia online sports betting site and open an account.
- You’ll have to enter some personal information which may include part of your social security number to verify your identity.
- Choose a username and password.
- Make your first deposit. This is when you can usually claim a valuable welcome bonus.
- Browse the available sports and make your first bet.
Is Betting on Fantasy Sports Legal in Virginia?
Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) has been fully legal in Virginia since 2016. Players can use FanDuel, DraftKings, Fantasy Draft and Yahoo!.
DFS are overseen by the Fantasy Sports Trade Association and the US Gaming Commission so all activity is secure and ensured. Players signed up in states where DFS are allowed can partake knowing their deposits and winnings are 100 percent accounted for.
What Is the Future of Online Sports Betting in Virginia?
The future of online sports betting in Virginia looks extremely promising.
With a new sports betting bill already filed and ready for review in early January, the tides are shifting and legalization looks like a legitimate possibility within the next calendar year.
For context, West Virginia was able implement legalization within six months of passing their bill.
Oxford did a study that pegged potential net gaming revenue at roughly $380 million for the state. That’s a serious amount of motivation for state lawmakers to move quickly on legalization.
Key moves are likely to happen early in 2019, with a potential vote or referendum taking place after that.
Legal Sports Betting Coming to Virginia
2019 is going to be a big year for gamblers in Virginia and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if legal sports betting was available before 2020 arrives.
Also very exciting is that Virginia is planning to make sports betting accessible through online betting platforms like websites and apps.
It’s not 100% clear whether any in-person betting options will be available but if we had to choose, we’d go with online betting every day of the week.
Stay tuned to this page for all the developments as they happen. After legalization we’ll have expert reviews of all the best legal betting sites in Virginia plus exclusive signup bonuses and deals.