May Revenue Up 20% YoY But Virginia Faces Tough Competition From North Carolina

Written By Phil West on July 5, 2024 - Last Updated on July 15, 2024
Two runners competing in a race signifies Virginia sports betting getting competition from North Carolina

While Virginia recorded a ninth straight month of more than $500 million in sports betting handle, a gain of more than 20% from the previous May, it’s been bested by its neighbor to the south.

According to Virginia Lottery figures released this week, total bet spending (handle) in May reached $505.6 million. That comes in $20 million below handle totals for North Carolina during the same period. Virginia sports betting generated adjusted gaming revenue of close to $54 million in May, nine million under North Carolina’s $63 million in AGR.

Since North Carolina launched sports betting in March, it’s had the edge on Virginia in both total bet spending and handle. This is likely due to the buzz around the launch of a new market, and it should not detract from the solid revenue totals seen in the Commonwealth this year.

Virginia YoY totals are up but can’t compete with North Carolina’s hot start

May’s handle and AGR totals are up more than 20% over the same time last year. Moreover, despite being a slower sports month than April, May’s AGR came in only $700,000 below April’s.

While Virginia has maintained steady year-over-year growth, it’s now facing competition from North Carolina, a state with looser betting laws that may siphon away some Virginia bettors, particularly when it comes to betting on in-state college teams.

In May, North Carolina had its lowest handle totals in its first three months of operation. However, it still drew $525.5 million in handle and more than $63 million in AGR on a 12% hold.

That was nearly identical to Virginia’s 11.9% hold for the month.

North Carolina cleared half a billion in total bet spending in each of the first three months it had legal sports betting. By comparison, Virginia’s gaming industry took 21 months to reach that threshold.

Despite new competition, 2024 a strong year for Virginia sports betting

Sports betting revenue in May secured nearly $7.9 million toward the state’s general fund and a little more than $200,000 toward the state’s Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund Allocation.

The performance also continued 2024’s positive year-over-year totals for all five months, which also include:

– January: $652.9 million (27.2% YoY growth)

– February: $545.1 million (25.6%)

– March: $635.6 million (24.2%)

– April: $563.5 million (32.3%)

Once again, more than $501 million was generated from mobile betting in the Commonwealth, with just under $4.25 million from betting in its three active casinos.

Two of those three–Bristol and Danville–are gearing up for transitions from temporary to permanent casino sites later this year, while plans are betting vetted by stakeholders for casinos in Petersburg and Tysons.

Photo by Shutterstock
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Phil West

Phil West is a longtime journalist based in Austin, Texas, whose bylines have appeared in The Daily Dot, Nautilus, Pro Soccer USA, Howler, Los Angeles Times, Seattle Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, San Antonio Express-News, Austin American-Statesman, and Austin Chronicle. He has also written two books about soccer.

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