Virginia Sports Bettors Wagered $304M In March, Topping February By 14%

Posted on April 30, 2021

Sports bettors wagered more than $300 million at Virginia online sportsbooks in March, an increase of 14% over February, which was the first full month of legal betting.

The Virginia Lottery on Friday announced that the official sports betting handle in March was $304,066,245.

That’s an increase of more than $48 million from the February handle of $265,778,306.

With the impressive month, Virginia became just the eighth state to reach a monthly handle of at least $300 million. The commonwealth was also the quickest to reach the milestone.

Virginia sports bettors welcome a new operator

Five VA sportsbook operators had launched prior to the start of March, including FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, BetRivers, and William Hill. Just one came online in March: WynnBET, which officially launched in Virginia on March 4.

The Virginia Lottery doesn’t break down its monthly betting totals by operator. However, during a recent Virginia Lottery Board presentation, officials said first-to-market FanDuel had taken 53% of all wagers through March 31. WynnBET, meanwhile, had failed to garner even 1% of the total wagers, according to the VA Lottery.

Of the $304 million wagered across all sportsbooks in February, Virginia sports bettors won $277,492,368. That created a hold of 8.7% ($26,573,877) for VA sportsbooks. In February, those operators had a hold of 4.6% ($12,238,780). That moves Virginia closer to the industry average of 7.2%

In March, Virginia topped some other thriving sports betting markets, including Colorado ($301 million), to become the seventh-largest market in the US. Virginia ranked behind these states for March revenue:

  • New Jersey
  • Nevada
  • Illinois (presumably)
  • Pennsylvania
  • Michigan
  • Indiana 

March bonuses and promotions at VA sportsbooks

March also gave Virginia its first positive month of adjusted gross revenue (AGR).

State law imposes a 15% tax on all sports betting revenue. However, Virginia taxes the adjusted AGR instead of the gross gaming revenue (GGR).

AGR is total winnings and authorized expenses (player bonuses and other customer-acquisition costs) minus total wagers. March’s AGR totaled $13,845,012.

Here’s a breakdown for Virginia’s first three months of sports betting:

MonthHandleGGRHold %Bonuses and promosOther deductionsAGRTaxes
March 2021$304,066,245$26,573,8778.7%$10,340,533$2,388,332$13,845,012$1,183,487
February 2021$265,778,306$12,238,7304.6%$13,187,560$2,282,972($3,231,752)$300,594
January 2021$58,896,564$3,586,0776.1%$6,343,077$478,612($3,235,612)$39,710
Total$628,741,115$42,398,6846.7%$29,871,170$5,149,916$7,377,648$1,523,791

Don’t expect that promotional spend to end soon. In addition to Unibet Virginia launching, which launched earlier this week with some attractive sign-up offers, additional sportsbooks have received permits and plan to launch soon. The list includes Barstool Sportsbook, Bally’s, and Golden Nugget. Those newcomers will need to spend mightily to catch up to the early launchers.

March’s AGR yielded $1.2 million in taxes for Virginia, including nearly $30,000 for problem gambling support.

Virginia’s take for March included:

  • Total tax: $1,183,487.58
  • General Fund: $1,153,900.39
  • Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund: $29,587.19

A March Madness that could’ve been madder

March’s sports betting handle in Virginia, of course, accounts for the widely popular March Madness.

This was the first year in which VA sports bettors could legally wager on the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament in the commonwealth. The weeks-long tournament is one of the most popular betting events of the year.

Virginians were eager to bet on the 68-team tourney. This, despite the fact that Virginia sports bettors can’t legally wager on in-state colleges and universities. That means March Madness bettors couldn’t bet on the five Virginia schools that made this year’s tourney, including the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech.

Still, Virginia sports bettors wagered $83,572,156 on the tourney, which represented 27.5% of all bets in March.

Photo by AP / Michael Conroy
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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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