Background On Virginia Legislature Legalizing Sports Betting In Landmark Decision
This past January marked two years since the state of Virginia officially launched sports betting in a groundbreaking decision.
There had been a long push for sports gambling to go live in the Old Dominion in the months leading up to Jan. 2021. But finally, after a long wait, residents of Virginia were able to place wagers on some of their favorite teams — and in time for Super Bowl 55 between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Virginia's sports betting legislation marks a new era for sports fans in the state, who can place all sorts of different wagers on their favorite sports. Some of the top promos available to new customers include $150 in bonus wagers from FanDuel if you wager $5, $100 from WynnBET if you wager $20 and a second chance bet of up to $500 from BetRivers.
Aside from sports betting, Virginians can also play their favorite casino games online, including blackjack, poker, slots, roulette and more.
Sports betting in the United States really began to take off back in May 2018. The Supreme Court of the United States overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), a law that made sports betting illegal in the country for nearly 26 years — beginning on Oct. 28, 1992.
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The Supreme Court ruled that the PASPA violated the nation’s Tenth Amendment. With the PASPA overturned, each American state now had the freedom to launch mobile/online and in-person sports betting if they so desired.
The state of Nevada, of course, was a notable exemption from the PASPA. Las Vegas is known as “The Gambling Capital of the World”, after all.
Following The Supreme Court’s ruling, the states of Mississippi, New Jersey and Delaware wasted little time launching sports betting. Now fast forward to the second quarter of 2023, and sports betting has since launched in more than 30 different states.
American sportsbooks and in-person casinos take in billions of dollars worth of bets every single year. The country’s “Big Four” North American professional sports leagues — the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL — all have partnerships with some of the nation’s top sportsbooks like DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM.
Aside from the leagues, plenty of individual teams also have partnerships with prominent sportsbooks. This is why you’re seeing so many advertisements on gambling through television broadcasts, mobile apps and at professional sports team venues.
Sports Teams To Bet On In Virginia
The state of Virginia doesn’t have any professional sports teams in the NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL, and state laws actually bar residents from betting on teams within the Old Dominion. This is also applied for the state’s many college teams.
But each of the “big four” professional sports clubs in nearby Washington, D.C., have giant followings here in Virginia. Residents of the state are allowed to bet on teams in D.C., namely the NFL’s Washington Commanders, NBA’s Washington Wizards, NHL’s Washington Capitals and the Washington Nationals of Major League Baseball.
The Capitals and Wizards both missed the playoffs in 2022-23, but the Nationals are a month into their regular season and will play through at least early October.
As for the Commanders, they’ll kick off their 2023 regular season in September. The league has yet to announce the schedule for the upcoming season, but it usually comes out by the second week of May.
Fans in Virginia can place bets on individual games (over/unders, moneylines, parlays, point spreads and more), as well as futures. For example, DraftKings gives the Commanders the lowest odds of winning the NFC East at +900, but that’s a good value bet considering that they went 8-8-1 a year ago.
Another potential future bet: Washington quarterback Sam Howell, widely expected to be the team’s opening starter for 2023, is a long shot to win the MVP award at +8000 at DraftKings.
Earlier this month, Dan Snyder selled the Commanders to a group led by Josh Harris — for $6.05 billion. Here’s a fun thing for Virginians to follow: The Commanders’ next NFL stadium may actually be built here in the state.
The Commanders are under contract to play at FedExField in Landover, Maryland through the 2026 season. Virginia officials continue to push hard for a deal to secure a football stadium, so stay tuned.