Virginia Latest State to Add to May Sports Betting Inconsistencies
Virginia Latest State to Add to May Sports Betting Inconsistencies
A general view of on Martinsville, Virginia. Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images/AFP

The US legal sports betting industry is turning out to be a tad difficult to figure out during this time of traditional seasonal sports betting slowdowns. While some states are reporting increases in their overall month-to-month handles, others are showing expected decreases during what has typically been lean-times in the legal sports betting scene.

The state of Virginia is out with their May numbers, and they are reporting a slight dip in their overall sports betting activity. Virginia joins Michigan, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and New Hampshire as jurisdictions that saw May handle dips. Their results are opposite of Nevada, Colorado, New Jersey, Indiana, Mississippi and Washington DC, all of which saw unexpected increases in activity from their sportsbooks last month.

It isn’t all bad news out Virginia, however. With May’s totals, the state became the 11th state in the post-PASPA era to clear $1 billion in sports betting handle and the fastest so far to do so at four months and 11 days. The previous record was Tennessee that reached the milestone $1 billion-mark in six months.

A Valley and a Peek

According to the Virginia Lottery, the state’s seven mobile sportsbooks took in $226.9 million in May, about 4% or $10 million less than the $236.4 million reported in April. The 4% month-to-month dip pales in comparison to the 22% slide experienced between March and April. However, Virginia was able to follow an interesting, yet common theme with regard to their May sports betting numbers. Like a number of jurisdictions that reported handle decreases in May, Virginia posted a spike in revenues.

Gross gaming revenues for May came in at $15.67 million, a healthy 37.6% jump from the $11.38 million in revenues reported in April. The spike in revenues can be attributed to a high 10.21% hold rate for the state’s casinos. Nearly $2.4 million in taxes was generated from the profits and will go needy state and local programs in Virginia. That is a nice 44% bump from the $1.65 million in taxes collected in April.

Since Launch

Virginia, as one of two mobile-only legal sports betting platforms in the country has been successful since launch January 21. Jessica Welman, analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayVirginia, commented: “The launch of sports betting in Virginia has gone about as smoothly as could have been expected.

Launching just in time for the Super Bowl got the market off on the right foot. But the state’s sportsbooks still reached the $1 billion milestone mostly without the benefit of football and during two months when sports betting typically slows. That makes the record all the more impressive.” In total, Virginia sportsbooks have taken in nearly $1.1 billion in wagers since launch, according to the Virginia Lottery. The result has been $5.4 million in tax contributions for the state in less than 4 1/2 months of operation for the Virginia legal sports betting scene.

Down the Road

Virginia will be reliant on its mobile only sports betting scene for the time being. Retail facilities aren’t expected until the end of 2022.But the Virginia platform continues to impress despite the lack of retail betting facilities and a ban on college sport betting. The decision to exclude college sports wagering could be overturned down the road.

That decision, along with the impending launch of the Barstool Sportsbook in the state and the NFL season which kicks off in just over three months means there is a lot to look forward to in the Virginia scene.

All has prompted Dann Stupp, analyst for PlayVirginia.com to say: “Virginia’s record-setting start has come in spite of its wagering ban on in-state college teams, which is essentially leaving money on the table. Hopefully, the ban will eventually be addressed, but even with it Virginia’s young industry remains in excellent overall health.

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