Virginia Sees $58.9M in Sports Betting Handle In 1st 11 Days

Virginia Sees $58.9M in Sports Betting Handle In 1st 11 Days
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Virginia’s sports bettors wagered nearly $58.9 million in the first 11 days of online sports betting in the commonwealth, the Virginia Lottery reported Monday.

Online sports betting began in Virginia on Jan. 21 and has been allowing operators to launch on a staggered basis.

During the 11-day start in January, four bookmakers were taking wagers: Betfair Interactive US, LLC (FanDuel) in partnership with the Washington Football Team on Jan. 21; Crown Virginia Gaming, LLC (DraftKings ) and BetMGM, LLC on Jan. 24, and Portsmouth Gaming Holdings, LLC (Rivers Casino Portsmouth) on Jan. 26. Caesars Virginia, LLC was granted a permit on Jan. 27 but chose to launch in February.

The Virginia Lottery anticipates additional sports betting operator permits to be awarded in the coming days. Legislation has also passed through the state House and Senate to add more operators and allow betting on the Olympics.

Virginia has only online sports wagering and no actual retail sportsbooks.

Of the $58.9 million in online sports betting handle in January, the bookmakers held $3.6 million (6.08% hold) but because operators gave away $6.34 million in promotions and bonuses, and also had more than $478,000 in other deductions, the adjusted gross revenue was in the red at minus $3.2 million. However, the AGR is certain to be in plus territory as the Virginia market matures.

“Following the successful launch of Virginia’s sports betting program, it is anticipated that bonuses and promotional expenses tied to customer acquisition will decline considerably, increasing AGR and tax revenues to a more sustainable level,” the Virginia Lottery said in a statement.

Still, the state made money in January, collecting nearly $40,000 in taxes with $1,000 going toward the Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund. Of the 15% tax on sports betting AGR in Virginia, 97.5% goes to the state’s General Fund and 2.5% goes to the problem gambling fund administered by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health.

Michigan Also Launched in January

Michigan also launched online sports wagering in January (that state previously was operating retail sportsbooks). Also in January, Michigan saw the launch of iGaming, meaning internet casino gambling, such as online slots and table games.

The Michigan online sports betting launch produced a total handle of $115.2 million from Jan. 22 through Jan. 31, according to the Michigan Gaming Control Board. Internet sports betting operators realized $13.3 million in gross revenue. For the 10-day period, the state collected $111,696 from internet sports betting.

Michigan has been regarded as an exceptional market in its early stages by gaming operators. Its 10-day handle of $115.2 million in online sports wagering smashed the handle of states who made their online sports betting debuts in 2020. For instance, in Tennessee’s first full week of sports betting in November 2020, that state reported $27.4 million in total handle from Nov. 1-8.

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