On Thursday morning, the Virginia Lottery began listing FanDuel as an approved sports-gambling vendor on the Virginia Lottery website “in conjunction with the Washington Football Team (temporary permit).”
Virginia Lottery spokesman John Hagerty confirmed to The Washington Post that FanDuel was helped in its quest for a license by pairing with the Washington Football Team, which is based in Virginia and has a sponsorship agreement with FanDuel. According to a provision of the Virginia law regarding sports gambling, the state will “give substantial and preferred consideration” to any “major league sports franchise” that withheld more than $200 million in 2019 state taxes.
Additional license approvals for other gambling companies are “imminent,” Hagerty said, adding that he anticipates Virginians having more than one sports gambling option by the time the Super Bowl — one of the biggest days of the year in terms of sports gambling — is played Feb. 7.
With the 12th-largest population in the United States, Virginia is seen as a lucrative market for sports gambling, and it would become the 20th state or jurisdiction (including D.C.) to offer legal sports gambling since the Supreme Court struck down the federal law that limited the practice in May 2018. Two of Virginia’s neighbors already have sports gambling in place. West Virginia has offered sports gambling online and at its casinos since August 2018. D.C. opened up its online sports-gambling operation this past May, though the city’s main online offering has been criticized for wonky geolocation and the poor odds offered to gamblers.
Voters in Maryland, meanwhile, approved sports gambling by a wide margin in a ballot question in November. The state legislature, which convened last week, now must create a sports-gambling framework. One state senator said in December that he hoped sports gambling in Maryland would be up and running by the summer.
Sports gambling in Virginia will be online only to start, though brick-and-mortar sportsbooks are allowed under the regulations.