Virginia Online Sports Betting Goes Live, FanDuel the First Sportsbook to Launch

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In a surprise, Virginia online sports betting is officially live.

FanDuel Sportsbook announced in a tweet that it will be launching on Thursday. And at 2:30 p.m. ET, they went live. Adults within Virginia state lines can now sign up, deposit and bet with their phones or computers.

FanDuel is offering new users several great sign-up offers:

There has been no word on whether other sportsbooks will be joining FanDuel in launching in Virginia, a notable difference from Michigan, which is also set to go live this week and has publicly announced approvals for 15 sportsbooks, 10 of which will start accepting bets Friday at noon ET.

While FanDuel is first to market in Virginia, it’s fair to expect big competitors such as DraftKings, BetMGM, BetRivers, PointsBet and others to be in the mix soon. BetRivers notably already has a casino partnership in the state.

Virginia has reasonable fees and a favorable tax rate (15%), which should encourage operators to enter the competitive field. It’s fair to expect most major sportsbooks in the U.S. to seek regulator approval as soon as possible.

What to Expect from Virginia Sports Betting

Virginia represents a sizable opportunity for sportsbooks as the 12th-largest state in the U.S. with a population of more than 8.5 million people. Neighboring West Virginia has online sports betting, but surrounding areas like Maryland and North Carolina do not.

Washington D.C. technically has online sports betting, but it’s run through the lottery and has limiting geotargeting rules, which really limits the amount of bettors who can sign up and bet. The odds and prices are also inflated compared to the rest of the U.S. market, so the proximity of D.C. to northern Virginia is a big deal to D.C. sports betting.

One unique thing about Virginia’s legislation is that bettors cannot wager on college teams from the state — similar to the rules in place in New Jersey and Illinois currently. That means that Virginia bettors can bet on North Carolina vs. Duke basketball but cannot bet on a Duke vs. Virginia game, since the Cavaliers are an “in-state team.”

Still, this is a welcome surprise for Virginians, who will likely be incredibly excited to legally bet not only this weekend for the NFL Playoffs but more importantly in time for the Super Bowl in February. We’d expect several more books beyond FanDuel to be live by then, even if it doesn’t happen this week.

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