FanDuel Gets a Jump Start on Rivals in Virginia

FanDuel is the first sportsbook to launch in Virginia ahead of all other applicants thanks to its partnership with the Washington Football Team.

As Virginia Prepares to Approve Betting Licenses, FanDuel Gets a Head Start

Sports betting in Virginia has launched with FanDuel getting a jump start on all other 20-or-so applicants that are looking to roll out their products in the state. Thanks to a clever partnership deal with the Washington Football Team, the daily fantasy and sports 7BALL betting firm has been able to secure an early entry, meaning that the state’s 8.5 million residents can already start signing up for sports betting online.

FanDuel Chief Marketing Officer Mike Raffensperger has confirmed that the company got the green light on Wednesday and was already signing up people and accepting wagers late on Thursday. With the NFL entering in the playoffs and the UFC hosting a series of important competitions this weekend, including the bout between Conor McGregor on Saturday, January 24.

Effectively, FanDuel will be the only drawing all the traffic in the next few days, unless the lottery issues more licenses today on time for the weekend bout. Commenting on why FanDuel was the only one to get an early approval, John Hagerty, representing the lottery, explained that any company that has signed up a partnership with a major sports franchise will get special consideration.

Early Start through Smart Partnership

While Washington is not playing in the state, it’s headquartered there, giving it a sort of local status that FanDuel has used to its distinct advantage. Despite the early start for FanDuel, though, Hagerty has assured that all successful applicants will be up and ready to go by February 7 when the Super Bowl is taking place.

However, the lottery may only approve 12 licenses, outside of FanDuel which is cleverly teaming up with the Washington Football Team. This means that the state won’t house all of the big names in sports betting. One of the reasons why Virginia has attracted so much action is its population.

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Meanwhile, FanDuel is already extending up to $1,000 in risk-free bets, seeking to incentivize the betting community to use its product. Despite the head-start, Raffensperger is convinced that Virginia is not going to be a one-man show:

“We think it’s a good thing to have an open competitive marketplace. It keeps us on our toes.”

-FanDuel Chief Marketing Officer Mike Raffensperger

Interestingly, too, Virginia will not open land-based sportsbooks, and it’s one of the few states to actually go down this road. Most other jurisdictions are looking to introduce online and mobile sports betting as part of the retail gambling space, but not Virginia.

While the Washington Football Team has been a good bargain for FanDuel, the team itself has performed poorly in the NFL, with another bad season for the organization looming over it and fans calling for owner Daniel Snyder to sell the team to a party who would be more interested in seeing Washington go back to a winning football franchise.

Only 12 operators will be allowed to run sports betting products in the state, but associated companies such as affiliates and data suppliers can snatch additional licenses.