Virginia sports betting reported a 31% drop in its monthly handle in July, the lowest full month for the industry since it launched in late January.

According to figures released Wednesday by the Virginia Lottery, the state’s sportsbooks posted $161.9 million in July handle, compared to $235 million in June and 29% less than the previous lowest handle of $227 million seen in May.

The monthly dip was expected and normal during this part of the year as none of the 16 U.S. sports betting states/jurisdictions report any gain in July – the lowest month in U.S. sports betting.

Virginia Sports Betting Only Better Than Washington DC

Of the 16 jurisdictions that have reported their July handles, Virginia sports betting’s monthly dip (31.1%) is only better than Washington D.C.’s 34.4% dip.

Virginia launched its sports betting industry on Jan. 21 with FanDuel. By July, seven V.A. sportsbooks were operational, contributing to the $161.9 million last month. Barstool Sportsbook, which launched in August as the eighth operator in Old Dominion, will contribute to August handle.

In July, Virginia bettors wagered $5.2 million on average daily, compared to $7.8 million on average daily in June.

Though July coincided with the opening week of the 2020 Summer Olympics and the 2021 NBA Finals, these events couldn’t lift the handle. However, it’s not a big worry as July has been recorded historically as the lowest volume month in terms of sports betting handles in the nation for the last two years.

Operators Did Relatively Better in July

VA operators relatively did better as they collected nearly $20 million in gross gaming revenue, which was 9.3% less than what they accumulated in June.

The hold rate of 12.33% was so strong compared to the hold among the 17 jurisdictions, which has been lower than 10% when using GGR and nearly 8.5% for AGR.

But it remains unclear as to why the hold was so considerable as the Virginia Lottery does not break down individual results by operator or sport. After the promotional play, bonuses, and other deductions, the taxable revenue shrank to $12.7 million. The state generated $1.9 million from that.

Though Virginia Lottery does not provide a breakdown by operator, it said that four of the seven sportsbooks reported positive AGR to contribute taxes in July.

Virginia Among Top 6 to 8 Nationwide

Despite being a newcomer, Virginia has emerged as one of the leading sports betting states since it launched late January. Old Dominion usually ranks between sixth and eighth sports betting states in terms of monthly handles.

It’s quite a phenomenal performance compared to industry leaders such as New Jersey, Illinois, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. All of these markets have been operational for a longer period than Virginia.

As of now, there are eight sportsbooks taking wagers in Virginia. But by the year’s end, more are likely to come.

When Will More Operators Arrive?

The Virginia Lottery has to award five more licenses following the amended law passed earlier this year, effectively allowing more operators to launch. According to the lottery, as many as 18 companies applied for a license in May, but no progress has been made since.

According to BlueBet, the initial timeline to get those licenses in August or September could be delayed. Golden Nugget had plans to launch mid-August, but the DraftKings acquisition of the Tilman Fertitta-owned company could have affected its plans.

Bally Bet has a license, but it has not said when it will go live.

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