Extra Football Weekend Helps Virginia Shatter Sports Betting Record
With an extra weekend of football in October, sports betting in Virginia soared during the month, posting a record handle of $427.3 million.
The October handle — the amount bet on sporting events — was 45% higher than the $293.8 million that gamblers wagered in September, according to the Virginia Lottery, which regulates sports betting in the commonwealth.
Since the launch of sports betting in the state on Jan. 21, bettors have wagered almost $2.4 billion on sports.
The October increase can be attributed to bettors having an extra weekend to place wagers, especially on football.
“The increased wagering activity was tied to five full weekends of NFL and college football in October,” according to a Virginia Lottery news release.
Several college teams in the state, including the Virginia Cavaliers and Virginia Tech Hokies, traditionally have active fan bases.
Virginia Sports Betting Handle & Revenue, October vs. September
|Change||Up 45.4%||Down 5.3%||Up 12.1%|
Washington, D.C., Fan Support
For NFL betting players in the region, the Washington Football Team is one of a half dozen major sports teams playing across the Potomac River from Northern Virginia.
The other pro teams in the area include the Washington Wizards (NBA), Washington Capitals (NHL), Washington Nationals (MLB), Washington Mystics (WNBA) and D.C. United (MLS).
These teams have a strong following throughout the region and, in the case of the Capitals and Nationals, have had championship seasons in recent years.
The Capitals won the Stanley Cup at the conclusion of the 2017-18 season, defeating the first-year Vegas Golden Knights. In baseball, the Nationals upended the Houston Astros to win the 2019 World Series.
In May, Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., home of the Capitals and Wizards, became the first U.S. professional sports arena to open a sportsbook inside the building. The arena is home to a William Hill Sportsbook.
Next season, the Capitals will wear a Caesars Sportsbook logo on their jerseys. In April, Nevada-based Caesars Entertainment, a publicly traded company, acquired William Hill.
Virginia Casinos Slated to Open by 2023
In the southern and western parts of the state, teams throughout the Carolinas and in Tennessee and Georgia attract fan support from bordering Virginia, as do teams in West Virginia and Kentucky.
Like next-door neighbor Tennessee, Virginia’s sports betting only takes place on mobile devices such as cellphones and laptops. Tennessee and Virginia do not have casinos.
In Virginia, the General Assembly has permitted Bristol, Danville, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Richmond to have one commercial casino each, with approval from local voters.
In November, Richmond voters shot down their proposed casino, though residents of the other four cities voted in favor of casino construction. Casinos in Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth are expected to be completed by 2023.
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