Virginia Kicks Off NFL Season With Near-Record Sports Betting Totals

Written By Derek Helling on November 1, 2021 - Last Updated on July 27, 2023
va sports betting september

The start of the 2021 NFL season produced the expected result for online sportsbooks in Virginia, with huge increases in September compared to August. The first-ever September sports betting numbers for Virginia represented the largest month-over-month increase the state has seen yet.

VA residents and visitors put down over $293.8 million on sports bets in September of this year. It’s the second-largest such figure for the Old Dominion yet, and follows the national trend that continues to cast the NFL as US sports betting’s “cash cow.”

Virginia September sports betting numbers

After bettors handed over $182.4 million in August, it seems they were gathering their druthers to get serious about the same in September. September’s total represents a 61% increase on that figure and is just $10.2 million short of the top total of $304 million set in March.

The figure also amounts to a daily average of $9.4 million. That’s an increase of 62% from August. The more important numbers for Virginia sports betting operators, the gross gaming revenue (GGR) and hold percentage, look great for them as well.

In fact, the $10.3 million in VA sports betting revenue was up from August’s 8.6 million, too. The hold percentage, or the take of the money that sportsbooks kept due to bettors placing losing wagers, isn’t a new high at just 10.5% but is second to July’s 12.3% so far.

MonthHandleGGRHold %PromosOther deductionsAGRTaxes
April 2024$563,495,540$60,438,98910.7%$11,185$5,908,786$54,519,018$8,210,372
March 2024$635,593,137$47,152,1207.4%$12,973$5,182,715$41,956,432$6,251,083
February 2024$545,068,429$49,715,7249.1%$20,981$5,529,773$44,164,970$6,342,927
January 2024$652,879,750$73,402,93911.2%$1,675,956$5,099,228$66,627,755$9,932,122
December 2023$633,181,758$62,635,7089.9%$1,877,436$4,486,382$56,271,890$8,465,776
November 2023$638,831,057$42,530,6686.6%$1,454,896$5,100,909$35,974,863$5,480,552
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

The gross gaming revenue from September, which came out to $30.9 million, is a new record for VA. Virginia sportsbooks haven’t been alone in experiencing record highs in September of this year. In fact, that’s been the case nearly across the board. A look at national numbers gives better context to Old Dominion’s place in the broader ecosystem.

Virginia is an attractive market for operators

To be clear, VA probably won’t be a top-five market when all the September 2021 dust settles. We won’t get the complete picture until later this month when Illinois, Nevada and Tennessee release their figures. In September, New Jersey bettors already set a lofty gold standard, staking over $1 billion to sports bets.

At the same time, VA’s action is nothing for operators to dismiss. It’s more than 14 times what bettors put down in Washington, DC, in the same month.

It ranks ahead of other markets with legal statewide online wagering, including:

  • Iowa
  • New Hampshire
  • West Virginia
  • Oregon
  • Wyoming

September is the industry’s first glimpse at the potential of the Virginia sports betting market. Legal wagering launched in late January, making this the first NFL season for VA sportsbooks. Yet, there are reasons to treat these numbers as preliminary.

The landscape will change moving forward. By next September, retail sportsbooks inside casinos around VA could be open, promising to at least shift some of the handle. Furthermore, sportsbooks in neighboring Maryland might be operational by that time, potentially diminishing some of the action in VA.

Despite those uncertainties, VA looks like it has a solid chance to settle in as a top-10 market for sports betting. That’s why operators are clamoring to enter the VA market, to try to wrangle some market share away from the sportsbook leaders. If this is how Virginians are going to bet on the NFL, it’s hard to blame them.

Photo by Jack Dempsey / AP
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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