Virginia Becomes Fastest State To Reach $2B In Sports Betting Handle

Posted on December 1, 2021

October 2021 proved to be a record-setting month for Virginia sports betting operators. And in more ways than one.

Virginia shattered its own monthly record for sports betting handle. The commonwealth also became the fastest US state to reach $2 billion in total sports wagers.

The Virginia Lottery, which oversees sports betting in VA, on Wednesday released its latest monthly report for sports betting revenue.

Bolstered by five weekends of NFL and NCAA football, as well as other key sports events, Virginia tallied $427.3 million in sports bets in October 2021. That’s a 45% month-over-month increase.

October 2021 a record-breaker for VA sportsbooks

The VA sports-betting market launched on Jan. 21 when FanDuel was first to debut. By early March, six operators had launched for the start of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Boosted by that March Madness betting, Virginia bettors had set a record that month with $304.1 million in wagers.

After the traditionally slow summer months, the VA sports betting market began to rebound with the return of football and the launch of additional operators this fall. Virginia sports bettors wagered $182.4 million in August and then $293.9 million in September, putting the lifetime Virginia total at $1.97 billion at the time.

Now, with the final October 2021 numbers available, that March record has finally fallen. In fact, October’s official total of $427,320,306.07 broke March’s since-fallen record by a staggering 39%, or $125 million.

MonthHandleGGRHold %Bonuses and promosOther deductionsAGRTaxes
November 2021$402,621,132$48,337,03712.0%$14,993,073$3,417,267$29,926,697$4,233,167
October 2021$427,320,306$30,160,3857.1%$15,805,261$4,569,424$9,785,700$1,746,204
September 2021$293,851,531$30,929,24310.5%$17,422,068$3,172,781$10,334,395$1,557,498
August 2021$182,418,252$17,967,4279.9%$6,868,639$2,410,724$8,688,064$1,378,539
July 2021$161,901,955$19,965,55612.3%$4,375,872$2,898,664$12,691,020$1,864,433
June 2021$234,943,435$22,006,2969.4%$4,983,544$2,125,855$14,896,898$2,273,995
May 2021$226,963,573$23,173,54910.2%$5,168,732$2,341,616$15,663,201$2,381,115
April 2021$236,432,523$19,442,3178.2%$5,529,294$2,532,886$11,380,137$1,652,147
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$2,795,193,823$254,380,5439.1%$105,017,652$28,619,133$120,743,760$18,610,892

As a quirk of the 2021 calendar, the month of October offered five full weeks of football betting. Additionally, October benefited from the 2021 World Series and the start of the 2021-22 NHL and NBA seasons.

Overall, October’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) slipped 2.5% to $30.2 million from the record $30.9 million in September 2021. After sportsbooks spent $15.8 million in promotions, the taxable revenue was $9.8 million, which yielded $1.7 million in state taxes.

The total operators’ hold was 7.1% for October 2021.

Virginia eclipses New Jersey in race to $2B

With $2,392,572,691 in total wagers from Jan. 21 through Oct. 31, Virginia reached the $2 billion mark faster than any other state.

It took Old Dominion a little less than nine months to reach the milestone. The previous record-holder, New Jersey, took about 10 months to reach $2 billion in wagers.

NJ launched legal sports betting in June 2018. That was shortly after the US Supreme Court famously struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.

Since then, NJ has become the king of US sports betting. To date, New Jersey sports bettors have tallied nearly $20 billion in wagers.

NJ also recently became the first US state to reach $1 billion in wagers in a single month. Virginia is unlikely to break that record anytime soon. However, by beating New Jersey to the $2 billion milestone, the commonwealth is certainly in good company.

Photo by AP / Nick Wass
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Dann Stupp

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

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