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That Was Quick! Caesars/William Hill Sportsbook Takes Flight in Virginia

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That Was Quick! Caesars/William Hill Sportsbook Takes Flight in Virginia
William Hill betting shop. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

It has been barely two weeks since the launch of the first legal sports betting site in the state of Virginia and already there are five top-tier providers operating in what is expected to be a robust market. It was Wednesday that Caesars/William Hill became the fifth such operator to launch after being granted approval just last week.

While brick-and-mortar casinos have yet to be established in Virginia, the state’s legal betting scene is off-and running. Retail facilities are expected sometime in 2022 after citizens of the state approved the opening of retail facilities on the November 3 Election Ballot. For now, Virginia’s legal sports betting platform will consist of online-only and William Hill is ready to join the fray.

The Race to February 7

The Super Bowl is ingrained in the US legal sports betting scene as their “Christmas Day”. Launching prior to the Big Game is always a goal, both for states and providers. With that in mind, the Virginia sports betting menu has been filled out with some top-notch providers. Each of them are providing an incredible number of betting opportunities for the biggest sports betting day of the year.

“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,” said President of Digital for William Hill US Kenneth Fuchs via press release.

The Virginia Scene Filling Out

So far, there are five operators taking bets in Virginia – the two DFS giants, BetMGM and BetRivers which went live in January 27 and now William Hill. All are among the elite in terms of sports betting providers, putting Virginia in very good hands as the platform gets off of the ground.

The plan is for the Virginia Lottery to add eight more legal sportsbooks to the market, bringing the total to 12, as per House Bill HB 1847 that made sports betting legal in Virginia. An estimated 25 applications are presently being combed through with announcement expected soon as to which suppliers will be granted the opportunity to operate in Virginia.

Eventual Brick-and-Mortar Affiliations

Caesars/William Hill aren’t stopping with just a mobile sports betting platform in Virginia. A Caesars branded casino in Danville is on the way and will house its own William Hill branded sportsbook. Keep in mind, Virginia currently is home to zero brick-and-mortar gambling facilities.

Caesars is just one of the rumored retail gambling facilities coming to Virginia. Senate Bill SB 1254 and House Bill HB 1847 have paved the way for 5 brick-and-mortar casinos for Virginia – they will be on top of the 12 mobile licenses that have already been legislated. William Hill will be the second platform to affiliate with a casino and to go live after BetRivers (Portsmouth) did so on Jan. 27.

The target date for opening retail casinos is 2022 and by law, casino regulations must be issued by April 2021, meaning that we will likely have a definitive answer soon as to which providers will open their own branded casino and where they will do so.

The Future in Virginia

William Hill and Caesars have made no secret as to their desire to be a major part of every major legal sports betting market in America. They already had a presence in Indiana, Iowa, Nevada, New Jersey, and West Virginia and now Virginia has their own William Hill sportsbook.

Barstool Sports/Penn National, PointsBet, and WynnBET are the next likely sportsbooks to be added to the Virginia menu – WynnBet will be building on an existing relationship with two Virginia NASCAR tracks. All the big names have seemingly targeted Virginia as their next destination.

It is exciting times for proponents of the Virginia legal sports betting scene. January will give us an early indication of just how the platform will fare in the nation’s 12th largest populated state. Early indications are that success will continue the theme of legal sports betting launches across the US.