Virginia Sports Betting Handle Falls To $293 Million In July

Written By T.J. McBride on September 1, 2023
Virginia sports betting was down in July.

In July, Virginia sports betting handle fell below $300 million for the first time in 2023.

Just over $293 million was bet on sports in July. July’s handle was 9.8% lower than the month prior, as $325 million was bet on sports in June. July’s sports betting handle is a far cry from the $513 million in handle back in January.

While the stark drop in sports betting handle seems like a cause for alarm, it’s actually similar to July decreases seen across the country.

Virginia’s sports betting dip does not mean the industry is struggling

There are more than a dozen Virginia online sportsbooks available to betters. While bettors can get onto the apps while out of the state, they must be inside Virginia state lines to place online bets.

July is the slowest month of the year for Virginia sports betting because of how few sports are active. The NFL regular season has not kicked off yet. The NBA has yet to tip off its season. And the puck has not fallen for the upcoming NHL season. With only the MLB active, there are just less sports to bet on, which is why these dips happen in the summer months. This trend is true not only in Virginia but across the country.

Despite the fall in handle, July was still a successful and profitable month for sports betting operators. Twelve operators in the commonwealth reported a positive adjusted gross revenue (AGR). Bettors won just under $260 million. That left a hold percentage – or operator win percentage – of 11.06%, which was an improvement over June’s hold percentage of 10.04%.

In total, all operators in Virginia combined for over $28 million in AGR after $827,332 of promotions and over $3.4 million of deductions were factored in.

Sports betting in Virginia still on the upswing year over year

When taking a step back from the shock of a fourth-straight month of slipping sports betting figures, a clearer picture emerges.

Even with month-to-month fall in revenue, the Virginia sports betting handle of $293 million in July was 10.4% higher than the $266 million wagered on sports in July 2022. The growth of the sports betting industry in the commonwealth is clear. That fact has much to do with the growing number of sports betting operators in the state from 2022 to 2023.

In 2022, the yearly sports wagering handle through July was over $2.6 billion. In 2023 through July, the total sports wagering handle has jumped up to over $2.9 billion. That is 8.3% growth year over year.

Over $4 million in tax dollars came in July

When sports betting was legalized, the legislation stated that 15% of the total AGR is to be contributed to the state in the form of a sports betting tax.

That tax on total sports betting AGR equated to over $4.1 million in tax dollars for Virginia in July. That figure is 4.3% higher than June’s tax contribution of just over $3.9 million. July’s tax contribution was 25.6% higher than in July 2022, when just over $3 million in taxes were generated.

With tax dollars being generated as a percentage of AGR, only the 12 operators who profited in July were taxed. That means the other four operators who were in the red in July did not contribute any tax dollars to the state.

Tax money from sports betting in Virginia goes toward two programs. The largest, 97.5%, goes to General Fund Allocation to pay for many projects and services across the state. The final 2.5% goes to responsible gambling programs through the Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund Allocation.

Nearly $103,000 was contributed to address problem gambling in Virginia. That left just over $4 million for the General Fund Allocation.

In 2023 so far, Virginia sports betting has generated over $38.5 million in tax dollars. From that total, nearly $1 million has been dedicated to support programs that address problem gambling in the commonwealth.

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T.J. McBride

T.J. McBride is a writer and reporter based in Denver. He is a Nuggets beat writer and also covers the regulated gambling industry across the U.S. His byline can be seen at ESPN, FiveThirtyEight, Bleacher Report and more.

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