Virginia joins the ever-growing list of US states with legal and open sports betting markets, with the opening officially out of the way last Thursday, when a first sports wager – via mobile phone – was placed on Golden State Warriors’ victory over the New York Knicks.
In 2020, state’s General Assembly approved sports betting while Virginia Lottery was given a vetting task.
FanDuel beat other interested operators to market by affiliating with the Washington Football Team…
…which was one provision in the law that caused a lot of controversy. Professional sports teams based in Virginia were given “preferred consideration,” under the legislation, to open a sportsbook. That’s why they were given a permit to form a partnership with an established operator.
The greatest sports betting day of the year is February 7th – Super Bowl – and that’s why the race to launch the sportsbook was so urgent.
John Hagerty, spokesman for Virginia Lottery, said that the state will award more sports betting permits soon.
“We anticipate more than one sportsbook will be in position to begin accepting legal wagers from Virginians in time for the Super Bowl.”
Upon launch, all the sports betting will be done via mobile, although there will be physical sportsbooks as well.
The gambling on Virginia’s college sports will be forbidden. Companies are required to verify their customers to be located in the state before allowing the bet to be placed.
A Massive Opportunity
Mike Raffensperger, FanDuel’s Chief Marketing Officer, said that being live for the Super Bowl was a massive opportunity and added that “there really is no other day throughout the year where we can get more people to try our sportsbook than the Super Bowl.”
He also noted that the company will aggressively court the market and offer a risk-free bet of up to $1,000 to new customers. If it is a losing bet, the company refunds the money as credit to the player’s account.
Although NFL rejected all gambling sponsorships before and instructed players to steer away from fantasy football, however, sports betting became mainstream and their stance has softened.
Virginia wishes to build a new stadium for Washington Football Team although no official deal was struck yet.
“FanDuel launches Virginia sports betting in partnership with Washington Football Team; move is seen as enticement for a new stadium”, richmond.com, January 21, 2021.