William Hill Mobile is the Latest Online Sportsbook to Launch in Virginia

State of Virginia Made out of Money With Sportsbook Background

William Hill Mobile became the latest Virginia sports betting operator after launching on Wednesday.

Partnered with Caesar Entertainment’s Caesars Casino in Virginia, William Hill Mobile is one of the leading online sportsbooks in the United States. It’s launch is just in time for Sunday’s Super Bowl LV in Tampa Bay. The Super Bowl is considered as the biggest betting event annually in the United States.

Said William Hill President of Digital Kenneth Fuchs:

“Just in time for Sunday’s Game, our Virginia app will give football fans over 1,000 ways to bet this incredible matchup, from the opening coin toss to whether the game will be decided in overtime.”

Live in 10 U.S. Jurisdictions

The William Hill Mobile app is now live in a total of 10 U.S. jurisdictions, namely Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington D.C. It also operates the trading services for the Rhode Island Lottery mobile app.

WIlliam Hill entered the Mid-Atlantic region in 2020 via its partnerships with the Washington Capitals, Washington Wizards, and Washington Mystic. By virtue of those affiliations, William Hill became the first sports betting company to operate inside a U.S. sports venue at the Capitol One Arena.

Operators Could Reach 20 in the Future

Virginia legalized sports betting in 2020 after a long legislative process. Legal Virginia sports betting was finally launched last January 21, 2021 with FanDuel went live on the launch date, earning the exclusive opening day rights because of its partnership with the NFL’s Washington Football Team. DraftKings followed on January 24, 2021 while BetMGM and BetRivers rolled out on January 27th.

State law allows up to 12 Virginia sports betting operators. However, this number could go up to 20 in the future with five proposed casinos in the state and two sports teams currently without sportsbook partners. These are not counted towards the maximum number of Virginia sports betting operators.

BetMGM, BetRivers Go Live in Virginia

State of Virginia Made out of Money With Sportsbook Background
Online sports bettors in Virginia now have four operators to choose from.

FanDuel was the first to launch in Virginia last Thursday. DraftKings followed on Sunday, just hours before the NFL’s Conference championship games. This week, two more online sportsbooks followed with BetMGM and BetRivers launching on Wednesday, just in time for next weekend’s Super Bowl LV game.

When Virginia sports betting was legalized, the state agreed to cap the number of sports betting operators to 12 after receiving a total of 25 applications for license. The General Assembly tasked the Virginia Lottery to screen the applicants and with four already live, that means there are 8 on the way.

Third Virginia Sports Betting Operator

BetMGM became the third Virginia sports betting operator after getting its temporary permit to accept wagers last Sunday. The operator, which is a joint venture between MGM Resorts International and Entain Plc. now has presence in a total of 12 states, including 10 with online sportsbooks. As part of its latest offering, Virginia bettors will get access to the MGM Resorts M Life Rewards Program.

The Roar Digital operated sportsbook recently announced a partnership with Major League Baseball’s Washington Nationals. The partners plan to open a retail sportsbook at Nationals Park in Washington D.C.

Partnership With Rivers Casino

BetRivers meanwhile, received approval to launch Virginia sports betting on Tuesday. After going live on Wednesday, BetRivers now has a total of 8 mobile states. The company has a deal for market access via a new casino which Portsmouth voters approved in last November’s vote. BetRivers is one of three operators partnered with a Virginia casino.

Caesars/William Hill (Danville) and Hard Rock (Bristol) are the other two Virginia sports betting operators partnered with a casino. When all is said and done, the state will have a total of five land-based casinos. However, the cities of Norfolk and Richmond, who have sold land and have agreed to let the Pamunkey Indian Tribe build and operate a casino, have not yet announced the names of the would be operators.

Virgnia’s “Sports Bettor Bill of Rights” Draws Flak From Major Operators

Virginia Sign

The public comment period on the proposed rules and regulations of sports betting in Virginia ended last Wednesday and some of the initial policies have received opposition from major gambling operators.

During the review process, major platforms like DraftKings and FanDuel have taken issue with some of the consumer protection rules that officials are proposing. One particular regulation that has received negative feedback is the one that requires the betting platforms to provide players with information that can help them make “informed decisions about their gambling”. These information include how the odds were calculated, odds of winning a bet, and the handle and payout amounts.

Other Issues That Drew Negative Reactions

According to the gambling operators, no other sports betting state in the United States has imposed a similar requirement. FanDuel in particular, noted that it recently offered 24 different bets on an NBA playoff game and that had nearly 300 potential outcomes and even more possible parlay wagers. Presenting the required information under Virginia’s proposed Sports Bettors Bill of Rights in real time will cause logistical problems on both processing power and screen space.

Other issues that drew negative reactions include the process of allowing players voluntarily ban themselves from sports betting for two years, five years, or for life if they feel they are losing too much money or if they feel they are getting addicted to gambling. The regulations also requires gambling operators to submit all marketing and advertising materials to the Lottery for pre-approval. The advertising rules also prohibit them from targeting minors and ads that violate “good taste” are disallowed.

Additionally, there is a proposed rule that bans betting on the Olympics, something which was not included in the legislation of the General Assembly. For this issue, the operators argued that excluding some sports evets would defeat the purpose of the legislation. Several companies also requested for a more lenient advertising policy where they won’t need a formal sign-off in advance.

Laying The Foundation of Virginia Sports Betting

The public review is being conducted by the Lottery to lay the foundation of the sports betting rules in Virginia. The outcome of the review will determine how quickly or not sports betting will launch in the state and what the bettors expect to see in the betting apps when they are officially launched. If all goes well, sports betting is expected to start next year in Virginia.

This year, the General Assembly passed a legislation authorizing the Virginia Lottery to hand out between four to 12 sports betting licenses in the state. Sports betting in Virginia will start online, largely via sports betting apps. However, it could eventually expand to the brick and mortar casinos being planned in different cities and the Colonial Downs operated Rosie’s gambling places.

The Virginia Lottery Board is expected to meet on Tuesday to vote on the new rules on sports betting. Once the rules and regulations are in place, the Lottery will begin accepting applications for sports betting licenses next month. Sports betting is expected to bring in an annual $55M in state tax revenues.