Virginia’s Sports Betting Operators Hit $400M Handle in May

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The sports betting market in Virginia continues to show impressive year-on-year growth, according to the latest figures from state regulator the Virginia Lottery Board.

The Old Dominion’s bettors wagered $403.7 million in total over the month. That resulted in revenues of $48.1 million, meaning Virginia is now the seventh state in the era of sports betting legalization to surpass $1 billion in gross revenues.

This milestone was achieved in just 29 months of legal wagering, following the state’s launch of legal sports betting in late January 2021.

Virginia now joins the ranks of New Jersey, New York, Nevada, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Indiana, all of which have reached the $1 billion in revenues mark.

Related: The best sportsbooks in Virginia, rated and reviewed

High Hold Rates

The Virginia Lottery Board does not publish individual revenues for each of the 15 licensed online operators in the state. However, as per most US states with sports betting, mobile betting absolutely dominated the retail market – making for $399 million of the total $403 million.

There is currently only one permanent retail sports betting venue in the state. That is a BetRivers book at Rivers Portsmouth.

Online or no, Virginia’s sportsbooks have consistently demonstrated a decent win rate in line with national trends.

The state’s operators’ all-time hold on more than $10.4 billion handle since legalization is slightly more than 9.6%, and monthly holds have now been 9.1% or higher for 10 consecutive months.

A hold of $48.1 million from $400 million in accepted wagers matched record holds for sportsbooks across the US in May.

Virginia’s 11.9% hold for May makes the third straight month in double digits. That’s the 12th-best hold among the 25 states to report figures.

Tax Matters

The state’s 15% tax rate on $42.5 million in adjusted gross revenue resulted in nearly $6.3 million for the state’s coffers.

Nearly all of that went into Virginia’s general fund, with $157,000, or 2.5%, sent to problem gambling treatment and support services.

A budget amendment in July 2022 drastically curtailed promotional credit deductions for operators. That has contributed to a dramatic rise in tax receipts over recent months.

That rise has seen the state raise $67.1 million in sports wagering taxes in the first 11 months of financial year 2023.  

The $30.5 million in tax collected in the first five months of this year is $17.2 million ahead of 2022’s pace, and currently ranks ninth nationally.

The state previously made $35.5 million in tax receipts in the first 18 months of legal wagering before the budget amendment.

Year-on-Year Growth

Year-on-year stats also show significant growth in Virginia’s sports betting market.

May’s overall handle was 5.2% lower than April this year, but gross revenue was 6.7% higher. This is also the off-season in most US sports, a traditional lull for operators and a time when state’s introduce legal betting on niche or silly sports to boost interest.

So, year-on-year is a better stat to look at.

On that metric, state-wide handle was up nearly 15% compared to May 2022. Gross revenues were also up 13.2% on the same period.

Adjusted revenue, however, was up 54.6% versus last year, with the 2023 total more than $15 million higher.

State of Play

Overall, Virginia sportsbooks have accepted nearly $2.3 billion worth of wagers in 2023, an 8.6% increase from the first five months of last year.

Yearly revenue is up nearly one-third to $238 million, aided by a 10.4% overall hold that is nearly two full percentage points higher than last year.

The continued growth and success of Virginia’s sports betting market is also accompanied by an interest in newly legalized casino gaming as well.

Elsewhere in the state this month, Rivers Casino Portsmouth celebrated it’s one millionth customer, achieved only five months after opening.

The only permanent casino currently in the state was in a celebratory mood. But it is still facing increased competition from a temporary Caesars Entertainment venue in Danville and Hard Rock in Bristol.

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