Virginia Looking to Launch Sports Betting Before Super Bowl
Virginia officially legalized sports betting on July 1, but the industry has yet to launch in the state.
That is expected to change soon, and it was recently revealed that the state is targeting the Super Bowl as a launch date.
The Virginia Lottery is in charge of overseeing and regulating the industry, and that group has been working hard to approve operators and begin testing for launch. The names of potential sportsbooks have not yet been officially revealed, but it is expected that the approved list will include some big names.
What’s Next in the Process?
A new bill was also introduced in the Virginia state legislature, and it could allow the state to become an even bigger market than expected. State delegate Mark Sickles is hoping to increase the amount of online-only licenses available and add some new betting markets.
Sickles led the initial charge to get sports betting to become law in Virginia, but he is looking to make some changes to the industry in hopes of making it better. Any changes to the current law would not go into effect until July 1, and the industry will launch under existing laws.
The Virginia Lottery will be issuing licenses over the next couple of weeks, and that will give operators time to test out their systems before launch. The current law requires that at least four licenses must be issued, but there is also a maximum of 12 available.
Virginia is also hoping to lure the Washington Football Team to build a new stadium in the state, and a sports betting license will be available for that team. Retail betting will be offered at the five casinos that are set to be built in five cities that have hit hard economically.
Fast Start Expected
Tennessee sports betting was launched on November 1, 2020, and posted a total handle of more than $130 million for the first full month. That shattered a previous industry record, and there is the belief that Virginia could get off to a fast start as well.
Launching right before the Super Bowl would give bettors a chance to bet on the biggest sporting event of the year. Virginia should also have more than the four sports betting options available in Tennessee when the industry launched there.
Industry experts have projected that Virginia online sports betting could see more than $400 million wagered during the first full year, depending on how quickly retail sports betting options become available. February and March could be two of the biggest months for the market until the NFL and college football seasons begin again next Fall.
2021 is set to become another big year for the US sports betting industry, and Virginia will help boost the numbers when it officially launches. There will likely be some hiccups when Virginia first offers sports betting, but launching before the Super Bowl will draw plenty of interest.
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