New options are coming quickly for Virginia sports bettors after a surprise launch this week.
DraftKings Sportsbook launched on Sunday afternoon, just before the NFL conference championship games started and two weeks before the biggest betting event on the calendar, the Super Bowl.
Here comes DraftKings in Virginia
“Just in time for Super Bowl LV, we are thrilled to bring the DraftKings sports betting experience to Virginia with an abundance of betting options for fans,” DraftKings CEO Jason Robins said in a press release. “With our customer-first approach, we hope to be the sportsbook of choice for Virginians who enjoy having skin in the game.”
FanDuel Sportsbook became the first (and only) sportsbook operator in the state on Thursday when it went live before anyone else, thanks to a relationship with the Washington Football Team. That deal allowed it to launch ahead of other operators, under regulators’ interpretation of state law.
The early launches for the two early powerhouses of US sports betting give them a first-mover advantage that will likely help both operators assume an early lead in Virginia. FanDuel and DraftKings are the leading operators in the states that have launched online sports betting in terms of betting handle and revenue.
BetMGM and others coming
BetMGM Sportsbook also got approval to operate online sports betting in Virginia, according to the Virginia Lottery, the state’s regulator. There has been no word of a launch of that platform in the state.
We’re still waiting to learn what other companies that Virginia will approve. But the Virginia Lottery is clearly giving deference — at least early on — to large and proven operators in a competitive process that saw more than two dozen applications.
While FanDuel leveraged a partnership to get into the state, it appears DraftKings and BetMGM got two of the limited number of online-only licenses that are not tethered to a casino or sports franchise.