Surprise: Virginia Sports Betting Appears To Be Launching Thursday

Virginia sports betting launches Thursday, according to information released Wednesday by FanDuel, before the company backtracked slightly.

FanDuel Sportsbook tweeted that would unveil its product to the VA online sports betting market “in 24 hours” before later amending that to “soon”:

Virginia sports betting

The accompanying video from Wednesday’s tweet still says launch would occur “tomorrow.” FanDuel users in Virginia were also getting activation emails on Wednesday saying both FanDuel would launch “tomorrow”and “1/21.”

Inquiries to FanDuel to confirm the timing of the launch were not immediately answered.

The opening of the Virginia sports betting market appeared imminent from industry chatter. Getting information from Virginia regulators, though, has proved next to impossible, leaving the actual date a mystery.

Who will offer Virginia sports betting?

In fact, even the identity of which sportsbooks will operate in Virginia remains in question. The competitive application process could yield as many as 12 online-only sportsbooks in the state.

Regulators have kept almost all information about the process away from public view, however. That makes FanDuel’s announcement not only the first word of a launch date, but the first confirmation from any of the 25 applicants.

LSR understands these companies either submitted a sports betting application or otherwise expressed interest:

  • BetMGM
  • BetRivers
  • DraftKings Sportsbook
  • Handle 19
  • Hard Rock
  • PointsBet
  • theScore Bet
  • US Bookmaking
  • William Hill

Major league sports franchises that build a new stadium in Virginia also can apply for a license. As many as five newly authorized casinos also would be eligible.

Virginia needs two takes to get the shot

Legislators needed two tries to authorize legal sports betting in Virginia.

Their first attempt in 2019 fell short as legislators balked at regulating sports betting. They instead opted for further study of both sports wagering and casino expansion.

Last year’s pass proved successful, though, with a huge push from both neighboring states and pro sports teams. DC sports betting started in 2020, giving the district a head start in the DMV area, albeit with a crippled mobile product. Voters next door gave the green light to Maryland sports betting in November, setting up a potential late 2021 launch.

Washington Football Team owner Dan Snyder last year lobbied lawmakers in Maryland and Virginia to move on legal sports betting. Snyder reportedly dangled the carrot of building a new stadium in whichever state legalized sports wagering.

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