Yes, Virginia, you do have legal sports betting—it was launched in January of 2021, with the state starting out as an online-only market. There are currently 16 mobile sportsbooks operating in the Old Dominion, which means Virginia sports bettors have lots of competitors vying for their wagering dollars.

Virginia Sportsbooks Features & Promos

While promo code offers are what attract sports bettors to betting apps, ultimately it’s the features that separate the best online sportsbooks from the rest. Users have to prioritize which features are most important to them—such as live streaming, live betting, or both? Bets on every sport across the globe, or a concentration on leagues within the United States? Lower minimum bets, more favorable odds, or more frequent boosts?

Those distinctions, which can seem small, are magnified in a crowded, competitive online sports betting market like Virginia’s, and they can make a difference in how much you pocket after winning a bet.

Virginia Sports Betting Legal Path

Discussions about legal sports betting in Virginia began in 2019, and support eventually coalesced around a bill that would allow online-only betting with the possibility of as many as five retail casinos to come. That measure was approved by both houses of the general assembly and signed into law by Gov. Ralph Northam in early 2020. Virginia launched mobile sports betting in January of 2021, with three of four locally approved retail sites set to open in 2024.

Additional Virginia Legal Betting Path Details

Here are some key questions regarding Virginia's sports betting rules.

  1. How old do you have to be to bet in Virginia?

    Players must be at least 21 years old to wager on sports in Virginia.

  2. How many sportsbooks operate in Virginia?

    There are 16 online sportsbooks currently operating in the state of Virginia.

  3. Can you bet on College Sports in Virginia?

    Betting on in-state college teams or prop betting is not permitted in Virginia.

  4. Do you have to visit a retail location in Virginia to open a sports betting account?

    Virginia bettors are allowed to register remotely on an app.

  5. Can you bet on Politics & Entertainment in Virginia?

    Politics (i.e. election results) and entertainment awards (i.e. Academy Awards) are not permitted in Virginia.

  6. Can you bet on Esports in Virginia?

    Esports can be legally bet on in Virginia.

Home Field Advantage 

Virginia is a robust sports market with a population of 8.7 million people, 79 percent of those adults. But it’s also the largest U.S. state without a major professional sports team competing within its borders. The Old Dominion’s two major pro sports venues are the NASCAR tracks in Richmond and Martinsville, which Northam made sure to include in the bill as entitles that could legally host sports wagering.

The six major pro sports teams that capture the bulk of Virginia’s attention are based across the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., or in neighboring Maryland:

NFL: Washington Commanders and Baltimore Ravens

While the Commanders haven’t done much of anything since winning three Super Bowls under a different team name between 1982 and 1991, they remain the sports team to many in the metro DC area, Virginia included. The Ravens have been far more successful recently, with two titles since 2000. Though attendance and interest in the Commanders waned under recent ownership, the NFL remains the king of U.S. sports betting, and Virginia sportsbooks offer countless wagers as a result.

MLB: Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles

While they’re in rebuilding mode now, the Nationals have been extremely competitive for most of their short history, winning a World Series title in 2019—and perhaps stealing some fans from the Orioles, who despite a recent resurgence haven’t claimed the crown since 1983. And yet with two nearby teams each playing 162 games, wagers on the Nats and O’s sustain many Virginia sports bettors during the long, humid summer.

NBA: Washington Wizards

Yikes, where to begin. The Wizards won the NBA championship as the Bullets in 1978, and haven’t done much since. Even with an over-the-hill Michael Jordan in the early 2000s, they couldn’t make the playoffs, and they last reached the conference finals in 1979. Yet bets on the Wizards and the NBA remain mainstays of Virginia sportsbooks, most of which offer a full menu of team and player props.

NHL: Washington Capitals

Winner of one Stanley Cup title (in 2018), the Capitals in the current era are a consistent playoff contender thanks to a core of great players headlined by center Alex Ovechkin. Virginia sportsbooks offer a variety of bets on the Capitals and other NHL teams, ranging from traditional bets like game lines and puck lines to unique props and parlays.

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