Virginia’s Failure to Legalize Betting On In-State College Teams Benefits North Carolina

While North Carolina and Virginia now allow online sports betting, the Tar Heel State has an advantage over its neighbor: in-state college betting.

Virginia’s retail and mobile sports betting began back in 2021. Residents can choose from 16 sportsbooks and three land-based casinos. However, state law prohibits sports fans from betting on their favorite home-state college teams. Several state legislators, led by Sen. Schuyler VanValkenburg, D-Henrico, are working to change that with an amendment to the current law.

If Virginia does make that change, it won’t happen this year. For now, North Carolina sports betting is the best option for many Virginia residents interested in betting home state teams during March Madness.

Amending the VA Sports Betting Law Unsuccessful So Far

VanValkenburg introduced Senate Bill 124 in early January. The bill would allow wagering on in-state college sports in Virginia “with the exception of proposition betting.”

The senator also sponsored a similar bill in 2022 when he was a delegate. That effort failed and SB 124 is now in limbo. Last week its status changed to “continued to 2025” within the Finance and Appropriations Committee. So the fate of the bill won’t be known for at least 10 months.

In the meantime, Virginians must cross state borders to bet on their favorite college home teams.

Virginia bettors are missing out unless they cross the state line

With March Madness betting days away, Virginia residents will miss out on placing wagers on in-state teams that have a chance of making a splash during March Madness.

“How casual bettors view betting is when they watch games, they want additional action,” according to Brendan Dwyer, director of research and distance learning at Virginia Commonwealth’s Center for Sports Leadership.

The lack of in-state college wagering also leads to the proliferation of illegal sports betting through unlicensed offshore operators.

Multiple Virginia teams have March Madness high hopes

The University of Virginia men’s basketball team made it to the semifinals of the ACC tournament where they lost to eventual champions, NC State. For their efforts, they received a 10-seed and a play-in bid to the NCAA Tournament.

James Madison dominated Arkansas State in the Sun Belt Championship to earn a 12-seed to the Big Dance. With an impressive 31-3 record, the Dukes look to go deep in the NCAA tournament and will face Wisconsin in the first round.

On the women’s side, the ACC’s best player is a three-time conference player of the year: Virginia Tech’s Elizabeth Kitley who is from Summerfield, NC. The Hokies enter the NCAA Tournament as a No. 4 seed.

The Hokies aren’t the lone Virginia team represented on the women’s side. Norfolk State received a 15-seed and a mountain of a task in the first round against Stanford. The third Virginia team represented is Richmond (10), which will face Duke (7) in the first round.

Virginia bettors have added incentive to cross into North Carolina to place action on their hometown team or alma mater. With the launch of NC online sports betting, all eight online sportsbooks are offering extensive NC sportsbook promos for new customers.

About the Author

Cheryl Coward

Cheryl Coward started her career as a news reporter in Washington, DC. She's a die-hard women's basketball fan and founded the website as a result of that passion. She loves writing about sports on all levels and has previous experience covering sports betting regulations, operator marketing campaigns and women's sports gambling topics.