888 obtains sports betting license for Virginian market

iGaming giant 888 has increased its influence in the US gambling market after receiving a licence to provide its sports betting services in Virginia. 

The operator will launch its offerings in collaboration with Sports Illustrated magazine, whose parent company — Authentic Brand Holdings (ABH) — it partnered with in June. 

What will 888 do in Virginia? 

Through 888’s expansion into Virginia, players in the state will be able to bet on various sporting events. These include all of the major American leagues, such as the NFL and NBA. 

The company will offer its services through the Sports Illustrated sportsbook, which forms part of its partnership with the magazine. 

Sports Illustrated’s sportsbook will launch in the Old Dominion next year. It has already started operating in other parts of the US; players in Colorado have been able to bet on their favourite sports via Sports Illustrated since September this year. 

Yaniv Sherman, Senior Vice President and Head of US for 888, said: “This is an important milestone for 888, which enhances our foothold in the US online sports betting and iGaming market.

“There is a growing sports betting fanbase in the state, and I firmly believe SI Sportsbook, supported by our partners at Sports Illustrated, will offer a unique and differentiated experience to our customers which will be well-received.”

Expanding its US presence 

888 has already enjoyed a lot of success in the US market. Besides Virginia and Colorado, the operator has a presence in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Michigan, Indiana, and Iowa. 

The company is looking to make a positive impact in its latest state — not just in terms of sports betting but also in helping the wider community. 888 will join forces with Virtual Entertainment Partners — an African-American, female-owned business. 

For the time that it operates in Virginia, 888 will seek to contribute positively to primarily minority communities in the state. Its partnership with Virtual Entertainment Partners will allow it to leverage additional expertise in this respect. 

Virginia’s sports betting market 

Virginia first signed sports betting into law in March 2020, though the market didn’t go live until the beginning of this year. The state was a little later to regulate the vertical than neighbouring West Virginia, which first legalised sports wagering back in 2018. 

In addition to 888, six other sportsbooks currently operate in Virginia. These are: 

  • BetMGM
  • FanDuel
  • DraftKings
  • BetRivers
  • Unibet
  • Caesars

Since the market went live, Virginians have taken full advantage and bet significant amounts on sporting events. In September 2021, operators generated $30.9 million in revenue between them. Meanwhile, players staked more than $290 million throughout the course of the month. 

Three-and-a-half years have passed since the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which opened up the US to sports betting. As of December 2021, 30 states — plus Washington DC — have legalised the vertical in some way, shape, or form and have live markets. Maryland and Nebraska have passed legislation and are working on getting their markets live.