The Virginia sports betting market is about to expand significantly with six VA sportsbooks launching over the next few months.
The first launch should be Bally Bet in mid-November. Bally’s was approved back in March but delayed most state launches until it closed its Gamesys acquisition.
The other five operators, selected from 18 applications, were not announced and are still pending approval. Some would like to launch before the end of regular-season NFL betting, though.
“We are currently working with the five operators that we are going to move forward and we expect to award some type of permits in the upcoming months,” said Gina Smith, Deputy Director of Gaming Compliance for the Virginia Lottery. “The operators, some of them want to go live prior to the end of the year, some of them are in the early first quarter of next year.”
That means there could be 15 online Virginia sportsbooks live in the state by March Madness.
VA sportsbooks near $2 billion total handle
Virginia sportsbooks nearly hit $2 billion handle in its first eight-plus months. Smith reported preliminary handle of $1.965 billion since the market’s January 20 launch through September.
That equaled $293.9 million in handle for September, good for Virginia’s second-best month overall and up 61% over August, according to the official report. Sports betting revenue hit $30.9 million for a 10.5% hold, but that’s before promos and other deductions. Taxable revenue was $10.3 million for $1.6 million in taxes.
Smith was asked if she expects VA sports betting to continue growing and relayed comments from this week’s East Coast Gaming Congress:
“We were just all talking about how sports betting is just exploding and nobody even knows what’s going to happen but it just continues to grow. As soon as we feel like everyone’s had the best month ever, here comes another best month. So I do see it definitely continuing to grow, especially as we bring in our other five operators.”
FanDuel still leads, others taking share
The top four VA sportsbooks by market share have not changed since the last report in July, though FanDuel Sportsbook‘s lead is declining.
|Operator||Handle through Sept.||Market Share through Sept.||Market share through June||Promo spending through Sept.||Promo spending share through Sept.|
*Handle and promo spend by operator calculated from operator percentages and total amount provided by the Virginia Lottery, and might not be exact. Golden Nugget launched Sept. 29.
FanDuel is still benefiting from its four days as the only live sportsbook in the state at launch despite the 4.1 percentage point decline in handle share. DraftKings Sportsbook, the second to launch, added 0.7 percentage points in share since the July report.
BetMGM saw the biggest handle share growth at 1.5 percentage points. That could be partially attributed to more awareness from its DC sports betting launch in June.
Barstool Sportsbook already has more handle than two other sportsbooks despite the brand only launching Aug. 10.
Two VA sportsbooks penalized by Lottery
Two unspecified sportsbooks agreed to fines from the Virginia Lottery over mistakes, including one that potentially violated the Wire Act.
That mistake was from geolocation software still being in test mode when the operator went live, Executive Director Kevin Hall explained:
“In this instance, it appears the operator’s geolocation screen remained in test mode when it first went live for some period of time, which allowed folks who may not have been located physically in Virginia to place wagers on the app.”
The operator agreed to pay $150,000 to the Virginia Literary Fund.
The other issue concerned a mistake made when uploading the database of self-excluded people. One of the self-excluded people placed a bet because of the mistake.
That operator gave $10,000 to the Literary Fund and another $10,000 to the Virginia Council on Problem Gambling.