“Virginia is for lovers.”
That’s the slogan for tourism in the state of Virginia. Starting in 2020, the state was for lovers of sports betting too. After some legal legislation, the first legal sports bets were placed in early 2021.
Virginia’s biggest city is Virginia Beach with roughly 458,000 people. There are also four other cities with the population of 230,000 to 250,000 people. Even with these populated cities, there are no major professional sports teams located in Virginia.
The college teams get the attention in VA. There are some nationally recognized Division 1 teams like Virginia, Virginia Tech, VCU, Richmond, Liberty, Old Dominion and George Mason. In total, there are 14 Division 1 programs in the state.
The Old Dominion State prides itself on being hospitable to tourists when they visit their beautiful state. With robust cities and college teams, they proved they’re for lovers of sports and gambling with the legalization of betting.
Yes, gambling is legal in Virginia. In March of 2020, the Virginia Senate and General Assembly sent two bills to the Governor to be signed. These bills were Senate Bill 384 and House Bill 896. These would bring legal sports betting to Virginia. The Governor at the time, Ralph Northam, sent back amended versions before eventually signing the final bills on April 22nd, 2020.
Virginia had no brick-and-mortar casino locations, so they became the second state to be mobile sports betting only. The first online sportsbook was operational on January 21st, 2021. Since then, the cap of 14 online sportsbooks have been met.
There has been movement for the state to create retail locations with in-person sportsbooks. In 2020, legislation was passed to start construction on retail casinos. Only one has been built and is currently operational. In 2023, there are plans for three new casino locations to be opened. Two locations in Danville and Norfolk will be temporary until their permanent locations are completed in 2024.