Rush Street First Virginia Casino Developer to Launch Online Sports Betting in Commonwealth
Posted on: January 27, 2021, 01:11h.
Last updated on: July 7, 2021, 01:43h.
Rush Street Gaming is the first land-based casino developer in Virginia to receive an operating license to conduct mobile sports betting.
Rush Street Interactive, the company’s online casino and sports betting division, will launch BetRivers.com in Virginia tomorrow, Jan. 28. Only sports betting will be permitted on the internet platform.
Rush Street Interactive is the fourth online sportsbook to receive approval from the Virginia Lottery Board. The lottery agency is responsible for regulating the state’s rollout of commercial gambling.
FanDuel last week was the first to take sports bets online in Virginia. The sportsbook is partnered with the Washington Football Team, which has its headquarters in the state.
Virginia’s gaming bill, passed in 2020, allows for up to 12 sports betting licenses. However, the law says that “a permit shall not count toward this maximum if it is issued pursuant to an applicable major league sports franchise” that has a presence in Virginia.
BetMGM and DraftKings have also been cleared to begin online sportsbook operations. The Virginia Lottery can still issue another nine mobile sports betting licenses for operators not tied to a professional sports franchise.
Rush Street Seeks Casino License
Four cities in Virginia passed casino ballot referendums last November. One casino each is cleared for Portsmouth, Norfolk, Bristol, and Danville.
Portsmouth has partnered with Rush Street Gaming for its casino resort. The Chicago-based gaming group plans to spend $300 million to build a destination in the Hampton Roads town called Rivers Casino Portsmouth.
The property will be equipped with a hotel, indoor and outdoor concert venues, conference space, and multiple restaurants. The casino will feature free slot machines and table games, plus a BetRivers Sportsbook.
Rush Street has been pre-certified by the Virginia Lottery Board to operate a brick-and-mortar casino in the Commonwealth. Once final approval arrives, Rush Street plans to quickly break ground, with a target opening set for 2023.
Caesars Entertainment is seeking a land-based casino license for its development in Danville. Hard Rock International is as well but in Bristol. Both of those companies are additionally pursuing sports betting licenses.
The fourth casino town — Norfolk — is working with the Pamunkey Indian Tribe. The Native American group has zero experience in the commercial gaming industry but has brought in billionaire Jon Yarbrough to invest and co-develop the project. Yarbrough made his fortune developing and selling Class II bingo-based gaming machines to tribal casinos.
Virginia’s Ready for Some Football
As of tomorrow, Virginians will have four live mobile sportsbooks up and running. Their operations couldn’t come at a better time, as Super Bowl 55 will be played on Feb. 7.
The matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and defending champion Kansas City Chiefs will almost certainly be the most legally bet-upon NFL title game in the history of the sport.
When the first legal sports bet in Virginia was wagered last week, the state became the 21st in the nation with legal, regulated sports betting. Virginia joins 14 other states that allow sports wagers to be placed online.
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