Even Freshman Virginia Sports Betting Not Immune To Swoon

Posted on June 1, 2021
Virginia sports betting

In the third full month of sports betting in Virginia, the state’s handle hit $236.4 million in April.

Sportsbook operators generated $19.4 million in gross revenue, good for an 8.22% hold, according to a Virginia Lottery release Friday.

Similar to most legal markets, Virginia sports betting took a dip as the sports calendar thinned. April wagers in the state were down 22% from March.

First drop in Virginia sports betting

Sports betting in Virginia launched Jan. 21, with $58 million in bets placed in the first 11 days.

The handle reached $265 million in February and jumped to $304.1 million in March.

Virtually every legal US sports betting market takes a hit in April, as the NBA and NHL wrap up their seasons and March Madness betting comes to a close. Some states, like Indiana, dropped more than 25%, while others like Pennsylvania were closer to 15%.

Promotions drop as well

The state collected $1.6 million in total taxes on $11.4 million in adjusted gross revenue from sportsbooks in VA.

Virginia levies a 15% tax on the adjusted gross revenue, which deducts bonuses and promotions among other deductions, from sportsbook operator revenues.

Operators in the state deducted $5.5 million in bonuses and promotions, down from $10.3 million in March.

New sports betting operator in Virginia

Unibet Sportsbook launched into the Old Dominion as the state’s seventh sportsbook during April.

The VA sports betting monthly reports do not break down sports betting revenue share, but a lottery presentation in April showed FanDuel Sportsbook commanded a 53% market share during the first two-plus months of operation.

Other live Virginia operators:

  • DraftKings
  • BetMGM
  • William Hill
  • BetRivers
  • WynnBET

Ten total sportsbooks are approved in the state, with 17 slots available. Bally Bet, Barstool Sportsbook and Golden Nugget were approved in March, and await launch.

Michigan stays ahead

Like Virginia, online Michigan sports wagering launched at the end of January.

Michigan has paced the two states in each month in handle. In April, Michigan bettors wagered $274 million.

Since the beginning of the year, Michiganders have bet $1.1 billion, while Virginians have wagered $865.2 million. Michigan’s total does include retail betting from early January.

Virginia is a more robust market than neighboring Tennessee, which has drawn $699.4 million in bets since launching online sports wagering in November 2020.

Another neighbor getting involved

Maryland sports betting legislation received Gov. Larry Hogan’s signature on May 18.

With up to 60 online sportsbooks allowed under the new rules, there is potential for some Virginia bets to drain from the state.

West Virginia and Washington, D.C. are also legal sports betting markets.

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Pat Evans

Pat Evans is a Las Vegas-based reporter covering sports business. Evans previously worked at Front Office Sports and the Grand Rapids Business Journal. He has authored two books: Grand Rapids Beer and Nevada Beer.

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