For the second consecutive month, Virginia sportsbooks reported a lower betting volume when compared to the previous month.
The Virginia Lottery released December 2022 sports betting numbers on Wednesday. Sportbooks took in a combined $503 million in bets for the month.
By comparison, Virginia sportsbooks collected $518.8 million in November when a full college football slate and NFL Thanksgiving games goosed the numbers. The $503 million in December is a 3% decline from the previous month.
Keep an eye on Maryland
Sports betting volume is seasonal, based on the most popular sports and events within a month. For example, sports betting essentially doubles during football season compared to handle over the summer months.
But, Virginia did break a pattern in the last month of 2022 compared to a year earlier. Here’s what we mean:
- Numbers from November to December increased by 6% in 2021.
- But, numbers slipped by 3% from November to December in 2022 as we mentioned.
The sample size is still very small, but the December 2022 decline could be a sign that Maryland sports betting found its foothold in the region.
Maryland’s first seven online sportsbooks went live on Nov. 23, 2022. Sports fans in places like Baltimore and Annapolis no longer have to cross state lines to use an online Virginia sportsbook for bets.
Could Virginians take their business to Maryland?
Virginia bettors, on the other hand, can’t legally place bets on Virginia college sports — including the top 10 Virginia Cavaliers men’s basketball program. So, December’s decline could mean some Virginians are opening an account in Maryland whenever they head north into the Old Line State.
Virginia Lottery spokesman John Hagerty said the lottery’s role is to “just license and regulate sports betting in the Commonwealth.” He touched base with PlayVirginia right after Maryland launched online sports betting:
“In our regulatory role, it is important to note that we do not operate those businesses or do any type of fiscal analysis.”
Along those lines, Hagerty also didn’t want to comment on lost tax revenue due to Virginia’s ban on in-state college team bets. The state allows college sports bets — as long as the teams are based outside of Virginia.
“The restriction is part of the initial legislation creating sports betting in Virginia, so it’s a question for Virginia lawmakers.”
The Virginia General Assembly is in session right now. Lawmakers are working on gaming issues ranging from allowed casino site locations to gambling addiction recovery. But, Virginia team bets don’t seem to be a 2023 priority at the moment.
An otherwise strong finish to 2022
As expected, all 12 months of 2022 surpassed their matching months in 2021, when legal sports betting debuted as an option in Virginia.
Bettors placed $426.6 million in December 2021 bets, so Wednesday’s numbers mark a 17.9% year-over-year increase for the sports betting industry in December.
As for year-end totals, customers placed just over $3.2 billion in 2021 sports bets. That number grew to about $4.9 billion in 2022. That’s a 52.5% increase from all of 2021 to all of 2022.
Virginia sportsbooks still did well in December
Sportsbooks generated just over $7 million in taxes for December, according to the latest Virginia Lottery report. From December’s taxes on legal bets in Virginia:
- About $6.9 million went into the general fund.
- $175,671 went toward problem gambling.
The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health gets 2.5% of gaming profits for the Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund.
The Virginia Lottery tells us:
- eight of the state’s 14 sportsbooks turned in positive numbers once customer wins and authorized state deductions were factored in.
- The state allowed sportsbooks to deduct about $567,709 in bonuses and promo offers to customers, plus about $3.9 million in other allowed deductions.
Bettors beat Virginia sportsbooks at higher levels
Virginia bettors had a better December when compared to November. Companies reported a 10.1% hold percentage in the just-released December numbers compared to 11.1% a month earlier.