Virginia Bounces Back From Summer Swoon With August 2021 Sports Betting Handle

Written By Dann Stupp on October 1, 2021 - Last Updated on July 27, 2023
August 2021 sports betting

The August 2021 sports betting handle has left Virginia online sportsbooks with a bit more pep in their step after a successful bounce back.

In all, Virginia sports bettors wagered $182.4 million during the month of August, Virginia Lottery officials announced on Friday.

That’s a 12.7% increase from July. During that month, bettors wagered just $161.9 million, an all-time low since VA sports-betting operators began accepting wagers in late January.

That August 2021 sports betting bounce-back was due in part to the late-August return of college football. It’s also a precursor for what should be record-breaking months ahead with NFL betting and NCAA college football betting dominating fall and winter weekends.

A look at August 2021 sports betting totals

August 2021 Virginia sports betting featured a handful of NCAAF games, including the Nebraska vs. Illinois season opener. Virginia sports bettors had other football betting options, though.

They included college futures, NFL preseason games, NFL futures, and other specialty markets geared around the gridiron. After all, football is, by far, the most popular option for sports bettors.

In fact, bettors traditionally tally 50-60% of their annual wagering dollars in the final four months of the year.

However, the MLB season again provided Virginia sportsbooks a little runway to the key fall season.

Here’s the full monthly breakdown of August 2021 sports betting revenue for Virginia:

MonthHandleGGRHold %PromosOther deductionsAGRTaxes
October 2023$571,354,817$63,996,95211.2%$2,798,787$4,834,082$56,364,083$8,550,197
September 2023$520,304,187$54,081,41410.4%$3,684,887$4,780,308$45,616,219$7,040,532
August 2023$319,005,942$32,359,88810.1%$743,076$3,711,669$27,905,144$4,155,221
July 2023$293,611,789$32,471,39611.1%$827,332$3,433,137$28,210,927$4,115,218
June 2023$325,455,052$32,668,02410.0%$1,318,014$4,915,680$26,434,330$3,939,701
May 2023$403,719,160$48,144,55011.9%$1,781,519$3,815,651$42,547,380$6,285,305
April 2023$425,982,859$45,121,87810.6%$1,941,696$4,247,815$38,932,367$5,799,965
March 2023$511,614,541$55,258,91010.8%$3,802,388$3,805,159$47,651,362$7,413,213
February 2023$433,807,108$39,766,9089.2%$7,789,446$3,592,213$28,385,249$4,682,125
January 2023$510,982,033$49,393,8129.7%$768,221$6,782,949$41,842,641$6,368,899
December 2022$503,075,150$50,687,27810.1%$567,709$3,099,072$47,020,497$7,026,829
November 2022$518,818,987$57,531,25511.1%$817,857$3,887,949$52,825,450$7,782,639
October 2022$528,029,938$51,164,1999.7%$963,187$4,668,013$45,532,999$6,956,643
September 2022$411,273,323$53,821,38213.1%$1,706,116$3,722,575$48,392,691$7,257,403
August 2022$284,671,331$36,978,89713.0%$1,140,242$4,395,696$31,442,959$4,474,132
July 2022$266,001,583$26,024,4089.8%$396,903$4,228,729$21,398,776$3,060,304
June 2022$295,235,271$25,965,1828.8%$7,834,123$5,146,174$12,984,884$1,871,961
May 2022$351,452,931$42,537,52412.1%$9,967,230$5,045,967$27,524,327$3,896,270
April 2022$399,478,366$36,275,2649.1%$11,253,534$4,260,348$20,761,381$3,040,327
March 2022$469,484,017$33,700,0167.2%$14,104,925$5,270,649$14,324,441$2,116,289
February 2022$401,889,135$27,498,1336.8%$15,816,234$3,797,649$7,884,250$1,406,280
January 2022$485,544,417$39,050,0678.0%$16,850,981$3,978,519$18,220,567$2,876,609

Breaking down the August numbers, bettors averaged $5.9 million in daily wagers. That’s a solid 13.4% increase over July, which was a record low for monthly handle in Old Dominion with $5.2 million in average daily handle.

Year-to-date Virginia handle surpasses $1.4 billion

During August sportsbooks registered gross gaming revenue (GGR) of $17,967,427. That was actually a decrease from July, thanks to a dip in hold (operators’ winnings) from 12.3% to 9.9%.

The adjusted gross revenue (AGR) for August was $8,688,064, also down from June ($12,691,020).

AGR is determined by deducting total winnings and authorized expenses (mainly player bonuses and other promos) from total wagers. Spending increased substantially in August as sportsbooks geared up for the fall season.

August also created $1,378,539 in state taxes, including $34,463 for problem gambling support.

Fall football means promos galore

With the help of betting interest in the ever-popular March Madness basketball tournament, VA sportsbooks set their monthly high in March. They tallied $304.1 million in wagers and $26.6 million in GGR during that 31-day period.

However, Virginia could very well topple that high-water mark in the next few months.

Part of the reason is the influx of new players during football season. That’s largely the result of increased marketing and promotional spending during the gridiron season. In addition to an influx of TV and digital advertising, sportsbooks get quite generous with their promos via free bets, match deposits, odds boosts, and even free NFL jerseys.

Additionally, in March, only five VA sportsbooks (FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, BetRivers, and Caesars/William Hill) were operational for the entire month. Three others have since joined the mix, including WynnBET, Unibet Virginia, and Barstool Sportsbook, which made its VA debut 10 days into August.

With those additional sportsbooks, as well as the expected launch of Golden Nugget Virginia any day now, the August 2021 sports betting improvement should simply be a preview of what’s to come in future months.

Photo by Dreamstime / Yahya Idiz
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Dann Stupp

Dann Stupp is a longtime sports journalist who’s written and edited for The Athletic, USA Today, ESPN, and other outlets. He lives in Lexington, Virginia.

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