Surprisingly, Virginia will go live with online sports betting on Thursday.
FanDuel Sportsbook announced in a tweet that it would be released on Thursday. No exact time was given.
There was no word on whether other sports bets will launch in Virginia with FanDuel. This is a notable difference from Michigan, which will also go online this week and has publicly announced permits for 15 sportsbooks, 10 of which will take bets on Friday at noon ET.
While FanDuel may appear to be the first to hit the market in Virginia, it's fair to expect major competitors like DraftKings, BetMGM, BetRivers, PointsBet, and others to be in the mix soon. BetRivers in particular already has a casino partnership in the state.
Virginia has reasonable fees and a low tax rate (15%) that should encourage operators to enter the competitive arena. It is fair to expect that most of the major sports betting in the US will seek regulatory approval as soon as possible.
What to Expect from Virginia Sports Betting
As the twelfth largest state in the United States with a population of more than 8.5 million, Virginia offers a considerable opportunity for sports betting providers. Online sports betting is available in neighboring West Virginia, but not in surrounding areas such as Maryland and North Carolina.
Washington D.C. technically has online sports betting, but it runs the lottery and has restrictive geotargeting rules that really limit the number of bettors who can sign up and bet. The odds and prices are inflated compared to the rest of the US market too, making DC's proximity to Northern Virginia a big deal for DC sports betting.
One unique thing about Virginia law is that bettors cannot bet on college teams from the state – similar to the rules currently in place in New Jersey and Illinois. That means Virginia bettors can bet on basketball between North Carolina and Duke, but not on a game between Duke and Virginia, since the Cavaliers are an "in-state team".
Still, this is a welcome surprise for the Virginians, who are likely to be incredibly excited about not only betting legally for the NFL playoffs this weekend, but especially in time for the Super Bowl in February. We expect some books beyond FanDuel to be live by then, even if this isn't the case this week.