Governor Signs Bills to Allow More Sportsbooks, Olympic Betting

Governor Signs Bills to Allow More Sportsbooks, Olympic Betting

Legislation in Virginia that allows for more sportsbook operator licenses and betting on the Olympics has been signed by Gov. Ralph Northam.

The law goes into effect in Virginia on July 1. Northam signed the legislation last week along with a number of new laws in the state.

RELATED: What we learned from the first Virginia mobile sports betting report

HB 1847 was sponsored by Del. Mark Sickles and SB 1254 was sponsored by Sen. Jeremy McPike.

The two bodies conferenced in late February over language in the House bill that was added to promote more minority participation in the licensing process before the legislation was sent to Northam.

The new law separates mobile sportsbooks’ operator mobile licenses from casino licenses — which had fallen into the same category by Virginia Lottery Board interpretation. There could be five casinos with sportsbooks. Twelve operator licenses were approved in the legislation that went into effect last July in Virginia.

The state has approved nine sportsbook operators, with six having gone live. The latest was WynnBET on March 12. Golden Nugget, Bally’s and Barstool Sportsbook have also been approved but have not launched. There could be 18 sportsbooks or more in the state based on the new law.

“The net effect is to have 19 (licenses) instead of 12,” Sickles said.

FanDuel First to Launch in Virginia

FanDuel launched in Virginia on Jan. 21, followed by DraftKings, BetMGM, BetRivers and William Hill.

Applications were filed by 25 sportsbook operators in October for the 12 sports betting licenses, according to Virginia Lottery Board deputy director Gina Smith.

The new law allows for sports betting on Olympic sports, which had been classified under youth sports in the previous law and illegal to wager on.



Ron Fritz is a former editor of

Cited by leading media organizations, such as: