Despite a slight decline in May handle, West Virginia sports betting reported a nearly 38% increase in sports revenue for the month.

According to the latest numbers released Monday by the West Virginia Lottery Commission, the state reported $25.5 million in May handle. It was down 3.8% from April’s $26.5 million, but a whopping gain year-over-year of more than 400%. In May 2020, West Virginia sportsbooks had taken only $4.97 million worth of bets.

The mobile handle share for the Mountain State, however, declined 7.3% in May which reported $18.4 million compared to $19.8 million in April. Still, it was a considerable growth (269.7%) from the online handle of $4.97 million that West Virginia sportsbooks had reported in May 2020.

Overall, the West Virginia online handle accounted for 72% of the total handle in May.

Revenue Up in May

The best part for West Virginia sports betting was the increased revenue generation in May. Nearly $2.7 million was reported in operators’ revenue, representing a 37.7% increase from $1.95 million generated in April. Last month’s sports betting revenue was up 396.7% from what Mountain State reported during the same period last year. May 2020 had brought in just $228,486 amid the pandemic-led closures.

But the state must be happier for another reason: it drew $228,485 in state taxes in May, compared to $165,922 in April.

West Virginia releases sports betting figures weekly, and the May report represents the data collected between May 2-29. April report was based on the figures collected between April 4-May 1.

An Evolving Market

West Virginia sports betting – the fifth state to launch sports betting in Aug. 2018 – has reported the second month of decline in May. The Mountain State was also the third to launch online sports betting in Dec. 2018.

April was particularly bad when the state’s sports betting market suffered its worst showing in a long time. West Virginia sportsbooks took in $28 million in April, a free fall from March’s $50.7 million.

The experts suggest better months ahead as local bettors will have several sporting events including the NBA, and NHLA Playoffs. In addition, the 2021 Summer Olympics is approaching to satiate West Virginians’ desire to wager on a rare event.

Efforts to Expand West Virginia Sports Betting

As of late, lawmakers tried to expand the West Virginia sports betting market in this year’s session. Sen. Mike Maroney – who felt the state has limited itself by keeping sportsbooks tethered to casinos – proposed a bill aimed at bringing “as many skins as possible”.

Maroney’s backed SB 603 passed the Senate Finance Committee in March, but even the supporter of the bill admitted he had little expectations to see any changes during this year’s session scheduled to adjourn April 10. Maroney’s said he just wanted to get the bill on an agenda and start the conversation.

The lawmaker regretted why a state like West Virginia – with a lottery – should force operators like FanDuel and BetMGM to tether with a third party when all they’re doing is skimming the money off the top.

Current law allows the five casinos in West Virginia to partner with up to three digital sportsbook operators each. There are five operators with market access in the Mountain State – FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, William Hill, and Betly.

West Virginia iGaming Numbers Up

Despite a dip in the sports betting market, West Virginia iGaming reported a 16.7% increase in May. The state’s iGaming market saw a handle of $138.2 million in May, compared to April’s $118.4 million. Similarly, iGaming revenue also reported a proportionate increase to 14% to $4.3 million from April’s $3.8 million.

The boost is associated with FanDuel’s online casino which launched last month through its partnership with The Greenbrier. The New York-based operator was the fourth online casino to go live in the Mountain State.

It came a month after Rush Street Interactive’s entry which launched its BetRivers.com casino – through its partnership with Mountaineer Park – in April.

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