Virginia Online Sports Betting - All You Need to Know - HowToBet
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Virginia Sports Betting

Legal online sports betting has undergone a recent tremendous boom in many states around the country and Virginia is no exception. To the surprise of many, Virginia ended a long-time conservative approach to gambling when it approved legal online sports betting in 2020. In January of 2021 Virginia online sports betting was officially launched.

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Virginia Online Sports Betting Legislation

When Virginia online sports betting finally launched, five sportsbook apps quickly became available to Virginia gamblers. These included apps from some of the biggest names in the industry. The state has approved for up to 12 licensed sportsbooks. You can therefore expect more to become available in the near future.

Gamblers in the state have the full range of sports to bet on. These include the major professional and collegiate sports in the United States as well as many international professional sports. In addition in Virginia, you can bet on some horse races and daily fantasy sports.

With land-based casinos now approved in Virginia, the sports betting scene in the state is evolving quickly.

Where Can You Bet in Virginia

Because the state has no physical casinos, the only way to bet on sports is to go online. You simply have to wager through one of the sports apps approved and licensed by the state.

Five sportsbooks apps are up and running right now. These are FanDuel, DraftKings, William Hill, Bet MGM and BetRivers.

For those who like to bet on horse races, you can physically place off track bets when you are at the Colonial Downs horse racing track. This track offers betting on thoroughbreds multiple times a week.

Colonial Downs is the only horse race track operating in the state. You can place wagers on its races online as well. Horse track racing apps available in the state include TVG, Twinspires and xpressbet.

Once again, you cannot bet at land-based casinos in the state because there are none. However, this is scheduled to change shortly.

Virginia Online Sports Betting Laws

To bet on sports in Virginia you must place the bet while you are physically located within the state's borders. You don't need to be a resident of the state to place a bet in Virginia.

As is the case with the state's lottery, you must be 21 years old to bet on sports in Virginia. In order to bet on fantasy sports or horse races you must be 18 years or older.

No wagering is permitted in the state on games involving college teams located within the state. You can also not make prop bets or in-play bets on any collegiate games.

Best Virginia Online Sports Betting Sites

The five sports betting apps currently in operation are all quality sites with their share of strengths. These include promotions and bonuses, good odds and user-friendly web pages.

Examples of many kinds of promotions on the various sites include:

  • Free Bets
  • Boosted Odds
  • Deposit Bonuses
  • Referral Bonuses
  • High Roller Bonuses

Keep in mind many promotions and bonuses will vary and change over time.

FanDuel

FanDuel offers a $1,000 risk-free bet and is one of the giants in the sports betting industry. In addition to offering fantasy sports all the way back to 2009, FanDuel is well known for offering a full variety of sports to bet. They also provide excellent wagering advice and analysis.

FanDuel has a full range of bonuses to choose from. Its fantasy sports benefits include immediate payoffs and no commitments. It allows you to bet on all the major Americans sports, including auto racing and boxing.

DraftKings

DraftKings is also a big name when it comes to sportsbook apps. Its website makes it easy for bettors to navigate their way around. It also provides a multitude of betting options - both in terms of the number of sports and types of wagers than can be made. DraftKings is also known for having excellent odds.

This sportsbook offers a deposit bonus up to $1,000 and is considered by many as the best for daily fantasy sports. Another plus for DraftKings is its deposit bonus up to $500. This is available for both new and existing account holders.

DraftKings is also good for betting on the go, including live betting on your phone. It has a very good cash-out feature and allows bettors to select from a wide range of both American and international sports.

William Hill

The William Hill sportsbook app that came on line in Virginia in February of 2021. It made a big splash by offering the largest risk-free bet in the amount of $2,021 for new players.

William Hill is the oldest running sportsbooks and also has the largest amount of retail sportsbooks in the country. It is known for constantly offering new promotions and its website is easy to navigate for live betting. William Hill also provides excellent customer service and the full gamut of betting options.

Available on iOS and Android, William Hill's additional benefits include live betting on sports as well as live streams of games on TV and radio broadcasts while games are live. These radio stations bring you up-to-date information to provide more insight into your potential bets.

BetMGM

Famous for its gambling expertise with its connections to the MGM casino and sportsbook in Las Vegas, BetMGM is one of the biggest wagering companies on the planet and has a very solid reputation.

Among its many attractions are international betting opportunities on sports such as soccer, rugby and cricket. It has a substantial bonus for new accounts in Virginia of $1,000 and offers a $600 risk-free bet.

Other perks it offers are access to excellent rewards, discounts and other bonuses at its MGM resorts. A somewhat unusual attraction with BetMGM are its one-game parlay bets where you can combine different aspects of a game into a single bet. BetMGM's mobile app is very user friendly and makes it simple to place bets and do your banking.

BetRivers

BetRivers is considered among the best for deposit bonuses and will match the $250 you deposit when you open a new account. Instead of one app for the entire nation, BetRivers has an individual app for each state, including Virginia.

BetRivers is rated among the top sports apps because of its many choices of bets, live betting and variety of sports on which you can wager. Among these are minor sports such as volleyball and snooker.

Other strengths for BetRivers include its number of prop bets, odds boosts and live streaming of events on your phone. For NFL games it shows the down and distance of games as they are in process and lists all the plays in which points have been scored.

Choosing a Virginia Online Sports Betting Site

There are a whole range of things to consider when choosing one of the sportsbooks in Virginia. The reason you should compare them before opening an account or placing a bet are fairly obvious and for important reasons.

One of the biggest is you want to find which one is offering the best odds in order to increase your chances of a higher payoff for a successful bet. Having a full range of sports is also important because many bettors will have a better feel or hunch of how the game may unfold based on their knowledge of the sport, teams or players.

Other considerations include how user-friendly the site is to navigate, the convenience of its banking system such as fast payouts, and the security features designed to protect your money and personal data.

The good thing for Virginia gamblers is the five sports apps that were in operation in the early part of 2021 are all of high quality and known for being strong in the above-mentioned areas.

Ease of Use

No one wants to spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to place a bet instead of concentrating on trying to make a successful wager. Although they can vary a bit and people will have their own personal preferences, the five sportsbooks that were the first to open in Virginia have well-designed apps that make it easy for gamblers to bet and manage their accounts.

Betting with ease is particularly important for making in-play wagers where time is a factor because the game is unfolding live. You also want to use an app where it's easy to quickly find the updated odds for the obvious reasons of increasing your chances for higher winnings. Furthermore, you want an app that provides up-to-date information on things such as injuries and weather conditions that may influence your bet.

It's also important to fully understand exactly what kind of bet you are making, especially for novice gamblers. Make sure the sportsbook has a section that provides customer service to have any questions answered. If it has an on-line chat room where you can get questions answered immediately that is even better.

Promotions and Bonuses

All the sportsbooks offer them in some form or another for the obvious reason they want to attract (and keep) your business. Keep in mind many of the bonuses and promotions will change over time, so you need to make sure which ones are currently active.

Codes that give you access to these bonuses are usually very easy to find on the main page. As a general rule, promotions tend to rotate more and be smaller than bonuses. Bonuses often refer exclusively to welcome bonuses.

There are a multitude of various bonuses and promotions. The most common is a welcome bonus, which is a set amount of money you will receive for either making a deposit or simply setting up an account. The sites will offer different amounts of money and the amount you often receive will depend on how much real money you actually deposit.

Similarly, sites will have deposit bonuses, which is bonus money that matches a percentage of how much money you s placed in your account.

Additional bonuses can include reloading bonuses, free bet bonuses and loyalty bonuses that reward a bettor for making frequent bets. Some sites also have high-roller bonuses for gamblers who wage large amounts of money.

Additional options may include refer-a-friend bonuses, boosted odds bonuses, rewards for using cryptocurrencies and parlay insurance bonuses that return some of your money for getting part of a parlay bet right.

Banking Methods

While these can also vary according to the app, there are many ways to make deposits and withdrawals on sports betting apps. By far one of the most common is through an electronic wallet such as PayPal. Advantages with these include the fact they are easy to set up, affordable and secure.

You can also use credit cards such as American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Discover. Prepaid cards in which you load your card with funds from your bank and use it with your sportsbook are another option. Online banking transfers where bettors use their bank accounts to place money in their sportsbook account is another way to do your banking.

In addition, you can use an ACH or e-check. An e-check is simply an electronic funds transfer (EFT) that utilizes the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network.

You want depositing money to be easy to save time and avoid headaches, and for the most part it is by simply going on the sportsbook site and hitting the deposit button. The speed by which your money is deposited and withdrawn is usually pretty fast, although withdrawals can take a little longer. Electronic transfers tend to occur faster than other ways such as a money order or check.

Most online sportsbooks have numerous ways in which you can make withdrawals. How fast you receive your money can depend on the fees that are charged. You can often receive your money more quickly by paying an extra small fee.

Legality, Safety and Security

With the five sportsbooks that became legal in Virginia in early 2021, bettors have the peace of mind knowing their funds and personal information are secure. This is because the five are well-established and trusted sites. Unlike offshore sites, they are also licensed and approved in Virginia, which means they are answerable if a problem were to arise.

There are two main reasons for doing business with a secure website. In addition to the obvious one of knowing your money is safe, you want your personal information to be safely stored. Having someone gain access to your banking account or credit card information can become an absolute nightmare. Make sure the sports betting app has a section that deals with protecting your security and a two-step verification system in place. Its also a good idea to use a password that is virtually impossible to guess.

Customer Service

Customer service can often be extremely important when you create an online sportsbook account. Questions can arise about banking methods as well as placing bets, particularly for the novice gambler. Sportsbooks want to help you in order to keep your business and the better ones are usually very responsive to your questions. The last thing a sportsbook wants is to lose your business because you are stressed out or unhappy with the way you are treated. Don't be afraid to ask so-called "dumb questions.'' It's your money and you have every right to be sure.

Virginia Online Sports Betting Timeline

While it's true Virginia was the first state to approve daily fantasy sports betting in 2016, it was a long and arduous fight for other forms of sports betting to become legal in the state.

After the federal ban on sports gambling was lifted in May of 2018, it wasn't until the following year before the state began even looking at possibly approving sports betting. Fortunately, for gamblers, Virginia approved legal online sports betting in 2020 and in January of 2021 it officially got underway in the state.

While all of this was going on, Virginia also approved building the state's first-ever land-based casinos. Construction of these were underway at the start of 2021 and they are expected to officially open in the near future. The casinos will provide another way to bet on sports in the state.

Virginia Online Sports Betting FAQ

What are the most popular sports to bet on in Virginia?
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The professional teams based in Baltimore and Washington attract a lot of interest. Betting on NASCAR is also big because the state hosts four of its races each year. College football is popular with Virginia gamblers as well.

What sports can you bet on in Virginia?
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Gamblers in Virginia can wager on all the major United States and international professional sports through the state’s approved online sportsbooks. You can also bet on college sports as long as one of the teams is not from Virginia. Fantasy sports and horse racing are two other betting options in the state.

What sports apps can I bet on in Virginia?
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Right now, the available apps are FanDuel, DraftKings, BetRivers, William Hill and BetMGM More apps are expected to be up and running shortly.

What is the sports betting age in Virginia?
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You must be 21 to wager on sports. You can bet on daily fantasy sports at the age of 18.

Where can I bet on sports in Virginia?
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You can make legal sports bets from anywhere within the state’s borders.

About this author

Rick Fortenbaugh author profile

Sports writer in Trenton, New Jersey, for over 35 years. Has covered a full range of sports, including pros, colleges and high schools. Owner of a bachelor's degree to teach history from the College of New Jersey.

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