lthough the Virginia General Assembly legalized sports betting last year, it took some time to develop all the rules and regulations.
Virginia represents a sizable market for sportsbook operators with a population of over 8.5 million people — the 12th-highest in the U.S. According to the Baltimore Sun, Virginia is expected to be a competitive landscape, as highlighted by three books already launched in the first few days of legal online betting.
Officials with the Virginia Lottery had said earlier this month that their goal was to launch a sports wagering market in the state before the upcoming Super Bowl in February, but it finally occurred sooner than expected, with FanDuel officials announcing in a tweet that the sportsbook was going live in Virginia on January 21.
Now, the company announced a multi-year partnership with NFL's Washington Football Team, under which both entities were going live in the state. Sports fans will be able to place wagers anywhere in the commonwealth across professional football, basketball, baseball, golf, MMA, soccer, and tennis with a variety of betting and payment options available.
The partnership combines FanDuel Group’s sports betting platform with the Washington Football Team’s strong presence in Virginia as it serves as the home for the INOVA Sports Performance Center, Richmond Training Camp, and the team headquarters. Virginia became the ninth state in the United States where the FanDuel Sportsbook will be available for iOS and Android.
"We are excited to bring America’s #1 Sportsbook to residents and visitors to the Commonwealth of Virginia," said Matt King, CEO of FanDuel Group. "We’re honored to partner with an iconic sports franchise and we plan to deliver the most fan-focused, and secure, mobile sports betting experience to the passionate sports fans of Virginia."
Under Virginia’s sports wagering law, the Washington Football Team was given preference for a mobile sports betting permit based on it meeting certain criteria for sports franchises headquartered in Virginia, and the option to partner with an established sports wagering operator to run the business. The Washington Football Team has chosen the FanDuel Sportsbook as its operational partner to jointly hold the permit.
"When this truly unique opportunity presented itself, it was a natural fit to strategically align with our long-time partner, FanDuel, as we knew they’d establish a best in class sports betting marketplace, grounded by innovation and consumer protection," said Scott Shepherd, Senior Vice President, Corporate Partnerships & Hospitality for the Washington Football Team. "We’re very excited for all this groundbreaking partnership will offer our valued fans throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia as part of their game-day experience."
BetMGM Sportsbook announced the release of its sports betting app in Virginia, following the company's launch in Michigan Friday. The app will give customers access to a wide variety of betting options, as well as benefits tied to MGM National Harbor in Maryland and MGM Resorts’ iconic casino-resorts throughout the United States.
"We’re ecstatic that BetMGM is one of the first mobile sports betting platforms to launch in Virginia," said BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt. "Virginians are passionate sports fans, and we’re thrilled to provide them a user-friendly sports betting experience. BetMGM Virginia customers can earn benefits and will soon enjoy innovative experiences planned with MGM National Harbor in Maryland and the Washington Nationals."
They are currently live now in Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and West Virginia; they also have a presence in Nevada, although the state requires in-person registration.
🗣️ VIRGINIA!— BetMGM 🦁 (@BetMGM) January 27, 2021
BetMGM is now LIVE in the Old Dominion. Welcome to the show! pic.twitter.com/C7m32ueOHY
Finally, Rush Street Interactive also announced that it would launch its flagship brand and online sportsbook BetRivers.com in Virginia today.
Sports enthusiasts across the Commonwealth of Virginia will be able to register, deposit funds and place bets at BetRivers.com on their favorite teams and events safely from their mobile devices and computers. Thousands of games across professional and collegiate sports from around the world, with millions of betting options including in-game wagering, will be available to sports bettors 24/7 from anywhere in the state. BetRivers.com will also offer its broad selection of live streaming content so players can watch games while they wager on RSI’s easy-to-use gaming platform.
RSI has partnered with the highly anticipated Rivers Casino Portsmouth, a new, entertainment and gaming destination coming soon to Virginia, to gain access to the online sports betting market in the Commonwealth. The long-term agreement enables RSI to operate in Virginia for 20 years from launch as well as provide its best-in-class retail sports wagering services to the in-casino sportsbook upon opening.
With RSI’s BetRivers.com officially live in Virginia, Rivers Casino is the first land-based casino in the Commonwealth to launch its online sports betting partner, reinforcing their joint investment in and commitment to Virginia and its residents. Portsmouth voters greenlighted Rivers Casino’s $300 million casino project planned for Victory Boulevard on November 3, 2020. Rivers Casino is expected to bring 1,300 permanent jobs and 1,400 temporary construction jobs to the currently vacant site.
“We are pleased to add Virginia to the growing list of states that RSI and BetRivers.com call home as we continue to expand across the country and bring our exciting and trusted online sports betting product to new customers who appreciate an operator like us who focuses on earning and retaining player trust,” said Richard Schwartz, president of RSI. “Our leadership position in the markets in which we operate, including the two largest states with legalized online gaming, Pennsylvania and Illinois, where we were #1 in 2020, is a testament to the strength of the BetRivers.com brand and betting platform.”
RSI currently operates online gaming sites available for customers to play today in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa and, most recently, Michigan.
“We would like to thank the Virginia Lottery Board as well as Portsmouth officials for their trust and partnership,” concluded Mr. Schwartz. “Together with Rivers Casino, we look forward to offering Virginians safe, convenient and enjoyable online sports betting for years to come from a local brand they can trust.”