Sports betting to officially begin in Virginia in coming weeks

Posted at 1:23 PM, Jan 08, 2021

NORFOLK, Va. - Sports betting will officially begin in Virginia in the next few weeks, according to Virginia Lottery Executive Director Kevin Hall.

Fans may be able to bet on the Super Bowl, said Hall. "We've moved pretty far down the field in building out the sports betting program," Hall told News 3.

The Virginia Lottery is overseeing the roll out of sports betting. Currently, they're getting ready to issue 12 licenses to companies to set up online sports wagering.

"We're close to the end zone and once we begin to issue the first of the licenses - once the sports books feel like they're ready to go - they can go live," said Hall.

The General Assembly legalized sports betting last year, but it's taken time to develop all the rules and regulations. In order to bet on sports, you have to be 21, physically in Virginia, and you can't bet on Virginia college teams. You also can't bet on the Olympics.

You can place pregame and in-game bets during pro sports games, but only pregame bets for college teams.

It's no secret that betting has been happening here already. "There's no reason to be naive there's sports betting going on already. It's one-on-one or in an office setting or probably much of it is being done with offshore sports books," said Hall.

Experts predict people bet $400 million in 2021 with 15-percent of the revenues taxed. A portion of the taxes will go towards programs to help people with gambling problems.

"I think it's important Virginia has developed a program in a responsible way to make sure consumers are protected and can have some confidence that the sports book is operating within the rules," said Hall.