Legal Sports Betting May Begin as Early as January in Virginia

If all goes as planned, you may be able to place bets on this year’s Super Bowl.

Virginians may soon be able to legally place bets on sports. Last year, the state legislature passed a bill that makes wagering on sports legal in Virginia. The bill allows for online betting only, but casinos are expected to get in on the action. The Virginia Lottery will be licensing new applicants and will start with online operators like Draft Kings and FanDuel. If the licenses are up and running by the end of January, it looks like Virginians will be able to place bets for Super Bowl Sunday.

Virginia is one of 22 states that have adopted or passed bills in favor of sports betting since the federal ban was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018. The case was brought to the court by the state of New Jersey to challenge the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992. Shortly after the ban was lifted, states raced to pass legislation to allow online betting platforms to operate. Nine states have legislation in process to adopt sports betting and 12 others voted against it.

Virginia law allows for between four and 12 sports wagering licenses. The application period closed on October 31 and the state has 90 days to review and approve the applications. If the state keeps to the deadline, that means sports betting could commence near the end of January. The law allows gambling on all major sports, with the exception of local Virginia college teams. Sports betting licensees will be taxed 15 percent of their gross revenues.

Even though wagering is done online, you must be within the state boundaries of Virginia to place bets. Virginia’s neighbors D.C. and Maryland have also passed legislation to legalize sports betting. Monumental Sports Network opened a sportsbook at Capital One Arena last fall and Maryland will have to perform a disparity study before setting parameters for licensees.