New sports betting licences up for grabs in Virginia after new bill signed into law

Virginia’s governor has signed a new bill into law that will make several changes to the state’s betting market.

Five new sportsbook licenses are available in the state of Virginia after Governor Ralph Northam signed new legislation into law.

Towards the end of last week, Northam signed HB 1847 and SB 1254 into law which aimed to make several amendments to the state’s sports betting laws.

Five new licences up for grabs

Under the state’s sports betting legislation that was previously signed into law, 12 sports betting licences were made available to online operators and five land-based locations set to open in the future. 

However, the licences for the five land-based facilities were not supposed to count towards the cap of 12 online betting licences. The legislation from 2020 did not manage to differentiate between the online and mobile licenses.

This has now been corrected in the new legislation which states that the five new licences will be for land-based facilities and the previous 12 licences will be for mobile operators.

With the signing of the new legislation, there could be more than 17 legal sports betting options in Virginia once the market reaches maturity. Licences that are awarded to sportsbooks that partner with sports teams, like FanDuel which partnered with the Washington Football Team, do not count towards the license cap.

At the time of writing, nine of the biggest names in the US betting market are licenced to operate in the state of Virginia.

According to the Virginia Lottery website, the licensed sportsbooks include Bally Bets, Barstool Sportsbook, BetMGM, BetRivers, DraftKings, FanDuel, Golden Nugget, William Hill and WynnBET.

What else was changed in the new legislation?

In addition to clearing up the language relating to sportsbook licences, the legislation made several other changes to the state’s betting laws.

Now, sportsbooks in the state of Virginia can take bets on the Olympics. Previously, the Lottery decided against permitting Olympic betting because of language in the law that related to betting on youth events. The new legislation has clarified that Olympic events are classed as amateur sports, not youth sports.

On top of this, the legislation now gives the state lottery the power to approve new betting markets, which means that they won’t need to rely on legislation to make changes anymore.

Sports betting in Virginia

The state of Virginia legalised sports betting in April 2020 after the state legislature passed a sports betting bill that would allow sportsbook apps to launch by the end of 2020.

Virginia’s betting market went live on 21 January 2021 with the launch of the FanDuel sports betting product. DraftKings became the second operator to launch in the state just days after FanDuel.

According to the Virginia Lottery, sportsbooks in the state of Virginia processed $58.9m in sports bets in the first 11 days of legal betting in Virginia in January.

During the first month of legal betting in Virginia, revenue after customers winnings amounted to $3.6m after bettors won back $55.3m from the state’s sportsbooks.

However, when it came to adjusted gross revenue, operators in the state made a loss of $3.2m. This was calculated after accounting for any promotions and bonuses offered by the state’s sportsbooks along with other deductions.

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