Virginia Sportsbooks Collect $59 Million Handle in 11 Days Of January Launch

Written By Dann Stupp on March 1, 2021 - Last Updated on July 28, 2023

Bettors wagered nearly $59 million at licensed sportsbooks during the first 11 days of legal sports betting in Virginia.

The Virginia Lottery, which oversees the new Virginia sports betting industry, released wagering figures for January on Monday.

VA sports bettors tallied $58,896,564 in wagers (the monthly “handle“) in just one-third of a month and with a limited number of operators. That figure extrapolates to more than $160 million for a full 30-day period.

Only neighboring Tennessee, which drew $131.4 million in bets in the 30 days after launching on Nov. 1, generated more than Virginia in its debut month. However, Virginia topped Tennessee’s per-day total.

That bodes well for future months in Virginia, including February, which will include Super Bowl betting in its monthly reporting figures.

VA sports betting handle and hold for January

Of the nearly $59 million wagered in January, sportsbooks paid out $55,310,487. That created a “hold” of 6.08% ($3,586,077) for the sportsbooks. This is a little lower than the industry average, but well within the norm.

FanDuel VA, the first operator in Virginia, launched on Jan. 21. FanDuel was first to market thanks to its partnership with the Virginia-headquartered Washington Football Team.

DraftKings VA was then online on Jan. 24, BetRivers VA followed on Jan. 26, and BetMGM VA launched on Jan. 27. Caesars VA wasn’t online until Feb. 3.

Additional sportsbooks are expected to launch soon. In fact, VA Lottery officials said they plan to issue additional permits “in the coming days.”

By market maturity, PlayVirginia expects Virginia’s sports-betting handle to grow $5 billion in annual bets.

Bonuses and promotions impacted the bottom line

State law dictates a 15% tax on sports betting revenue. However, Virginia taxes the adjusted gross receipts (AGR), not the gross gaming revenue (GGR).

AGR is defined as total wagers minus total winnings and other authorized expenses, namely the value of player bonuses and other customer-acquisition promotions. It is unclear if the federal excise tax of .25% is included in the expenses column.

Here is a look at the full breakdown of numbers:

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
Total$16,121,632,322$1,556,269,0439.2%$233,997,195$159,686,836$1,162,585,009$169,658,364

Sportsbooks invested heavily in Virginia sports betting promos. In fact, three of four operators reported a negative AGR, and the combined AGR was a $3.2 million loss.

However, as VA Lottery officials noted, that number will “decline considerably … to a more sustainable level” as the market matures.

Where VA sports betting taxes go

Virginia lawmakers and other stakeholders sold sports betting as a way to raise revenue.

According to the legislation, 97.5% of the taxed hold is to be deposited in the state’s General Fund.

The other 2.5% is transferred to the Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund, which the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health administers.

Because of the negative AGR, Virginia’s take took a hit for January. The lottery reported only one sportsbook reported a taxable profit, which is reflected here::

More Virginia sportsbooks to launch

Two bills could soon expand the number of Virginia sportsbook operators.

Notably, the bills would clarify that mobile sports betting licenses for soon-to-launch Virginia casinos won’t count against the cap of 12 mobile-only licenses.

BetRivers is partnered with the Portsmouth casino, and William Hill Virginia teamed with the Danville casino.

Additionally, for the 10 remaining only-online licenses, VA lawmakers would give “substantial and preferred consideration” to sportsbook operators with minority participation.

Photo by AP / Chris Szagola
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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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