Operators, vendors, and suppliers can now apply to be part of Virginia’s sports betting industry. The Virginia Lottery opened the application window on its site on October 15.
Interested parties have until October 31 to complete their applications, leaving them very little time. The state remains on schedule to roll out legal sports betting by January 2021.
What Will Happen Between Now and January 2021?
According to the regulations, the Virginia Lottery Board has 90 days to review all the applications it receives by October 31. Even if an application was submitted on the first day (October 15), the market isn’t expected to launch until mid-January.
Operator licenses are a top priority, but for an operator to go live in Virginia, all its vendors and suppliers need to be approved first. As such, Virginia is using an accelerated licensing timeline that might push back the January launch.
If all goes to plan, legal sports betting platforms will be available for use between January 15 and January 30, initially via online and mobile platforms only.
Regulators are authorized to allow between 11 and 14 digital platforms in the state, with five tethered to casinos. The remaining licenses would be reserved for stand-alone online sports betting sites and partnerships with a professional team.
Sports betting operators expected to apply for a license from the Virginia Lottery during the two-week window include:
The Lottery has not published the list of applicants.
Narrative of Project Plan
Those operators interested in applying for a sports betting license need to submit a project plan.
The plan has to include an overview of the applicant’s business, owners, officers, directors, experience in sports betting in other jurisdictions, an estimate on revenue and tax generation projections, and many other details used to determine an applicant’s suitability.
The applications will be submitted through the Lottery’s online license system, and paper applications will not be accepted. Fees are due when the application is submitted online.
The Lottery has also published a list of sample applications for permit holders, suppliers, vendors, and other interested parties. All in all, there are six different applications.
The Lottery has set licensing fees at $250,000 for an operator and $125,000 for a supplier that intends to operate a sports betting platform.
Prepping for Retail Sportsbooks
Why will we only see online and mobile sports betting in Virginia before retail sportsbooks? Because the question of land-based sportsbooks is still up in the air in some towns across the state.
Virginia’s new sports betting laws allow the building of five brick-and-mortar sports betting locations, but where these casinos will be located is still up in the air. Residents in five towns need to give the final green light on whether or not to allow retail casinos in their midst.
Danville, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Richmond, and Bristol will all go to the polls on November 3, with casino gaming hanging in the balance.
The industry’s major players have already made deals with towns and staked their claim on locations, even though there hasn’t been a vote yet.
- Danville has signed a partnership with Caesars Entertainment, which will have its online and mobile sports betting license through William Hill or IGT.
- Portsmouth has linked up with Rush Street Gaming, which will operate with a license from BetRivers.
- Bristol has gone the Hard Rock way and will apply for a license through Scientific Games.
- The other two towns in question – Richmond and Norfolk – haven’t yet signed partnership deals with sportsbooks operators, but they’ve sealed some property deals. They’ve sold land (or plan to do so) that is specifically earmarked for the construction of casinos to the Pamunkey Indian Tribe. They have not yet announced their potential partners.