The nationwide declining trend in sports betting also visited the newly launched Virginia industry which reported a total handle of $236.4 million in April. According to the figures released Friday by Virginia Lottery, last month’s handle represented a 22% decline from March’s $304.1 million, the record number for the new industry, largely thanks to the NCAA Tournament.

The state’s seven sportsbooks reported a combined adjusted gross revenue (AGR) of $11.4 million in April, the third full month for Virginia sports betting which launched on Jan. 21.

While it appears a huge dip month-over-month, slow numbers in April were expected and eventually witnessed by most legal sports betting states, including New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Nevada.

 Virginia offers online sports betting only until the casinos are built and opened with retail sportsbooks, which is expected not until at least 2022.

…But Higher Tax for State

Despite a 22% dip in handle, the state generated higher tax from the industry. Old Dominion drew $1.65 million, up 40% from March. More than $41,000 of that collected in state tax earmarked for initiatives like problem gambling treatment.

In March, the state had generated $1.18 million from Virginia sports betting.

Other Revenue Details

The seven operators reported a cumulative $19.4 million gross gaming revenue (GGR), resulting in an 8.22% hold. However, after promotional and other such deductions, the AGR totaled around $11.4 million.

Like some other jurisdictions, Virginia allows sportsbook operators to deduct bonuses and promotions- dished out to customers- from total revenues. So, the state generated sports betting tax from the four operators, which reported positive AGR for the month, according to the lottery.

Last month’s total GGR was down 26.8% from March’s $26.6 million, while the AGR posted a 17.8% shrink from the $13.8 million AGR in March.

However, the $5.5 million, in promotions and bonuses, was the lowest figure in any of the four months since launch. In March, Virginia’s operators lavished $10.3 million in promos. But as the market matures and operators settled down, promotional play tends to decrease.

The Virginia Lottery does not give the handle and revenue details of individual operators.

Virginia Becomes 6th Largest Industry

Virginia’s April handle puts it sixth nationally, which is amazing for a new industry to achieve in its first 100 days. Old Dominion’s $236.43 million puts it slightly ahead of Indiana ($236.40 million), which went live in Sep. 2019.

New Jersey topped the US sports betting market in April with $748 million, followed by Pennsylvania ($479.4 million), Nevada ($458.2 million), Michigan ($274.2 million), Colorado ($244.4 million), and Indiana ($236.4 million).

However, the numbers could change the equation as soon as Illinois releases its monthly figures.

What’s Next?

Even with a slow month in April, Virginia will certainly top $1 billion in total handle, as the state has already generated nearly $865 million in its first four months’ cumulative handle. It represents a remarkable growth of an industry launched amid the peak of the pandemic. For comparison, Tennessee took in $699.4 million in total bets in its four months from Nov. 1 launch.

Currently, there are seven operators in Virginia, with Unibet as the latest that went live in April. FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, BetRivers, William Hill, and WynnBET were already taking bets in the state. Three more operators have been approved by Virginia Lottery, but they have not launched yet.

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