Virginia sportsbooks numbers have begun a normal decline leading into the summer months following the conclusion of the NFL and March Madness NCAA Tournament season. The Virginia Lottery released its monthly sports wagering activity report on Thursday for April 2023.
With the addition of April’s numbers, bettors in the commonwealth have now wagered over $1.8 billion on sports this year so far.
For April, mobile and retail sports betting locations combined handled $425,982,859 in bets from Virginians. That handle was 6.6% higher than April 2022 (just shy of $400 million). But April’s handle is 16.7% down from March ($511,614,541). The NHL and NBA season will end soon, marking an expected continuation in the decline of sports betting until NFL and college football restart in September.
Here is a look at the month-over-month comparison, with numbers supplied by the Virginia Lottery.
Virginia Sports Betting, April vs. March
Virginia Sportsbook Apps Dominate Market Again
As expected, Virginia sports betting apps handled the lion’s share of the total handle in April at $422,465,093, down 16.7% from March ($507,025,619) and up 5.8% from April 2022 ($399,478,366). Wagering at retail locations posted $3.5 million for the month.
Virginia has issued 17 online/mobile sports wagering licenses since 2021 and opened three retail sportsbooks located at Bristol Casino, Rivers Casino Portsmouth, and Danville Casino. The Caesars Virginia Danville casino is not included in the April report, the temporary facility just opened on May 15.
A total of $380,860,981 was paid out to Virginians as winning bets in April. After winnings and other authorized deductions are subtracted from the total handle, the Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) for April was reported at $38,932,367, down 18.3% from the March Virginia sports revenue report ($47,651,362).
But last month’s total was up 87.5% from April 2022 ($20,761,381). Virginia state law places a 15% tax on AGR totals.
April’s sports betting taxes generated $5,799,965 for the state, down 21.8% from March ($7,413,213) and up 90.8% from April 2022 ($3,040,327).
The Commonwealth of Virginia launched sports betting in January 2021 with FanDuel Sportsbook Virginia as the first operator to go live. The state has 16 licensed operators for sports wagering (FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMMGM, Caesars, Barstool, PointsBet, BetRivers, WynnBET, Hard Rock, Unibet, Bally’s Bet, SI Sportsbook, Betway, Bet365, BetFred, and Betr) but only 15 are taking bets.
Florida-based Betr Sportsbook was awarded a permit to operate in Virginia on March 3 but has not announced a launch date yet.
Competition Surrounds the Old Dominion
Virginia is standing firm while facing sports betting competition from neighboring states Kentucky, Maryland, Tennessee and West Virginia, plus the District of Columbia. And North Carolina is close to legalizing mobile sports wagering; it is still in the legislative process but is close to the finish line. That state would be an enticing location for major national operators, just as the Old Dominion was when brands like BetMGM VA launched.
If all goes as expected, North Carolina would launch mobile sports and horse race wagering in 2024. On Thursday, the state Senate voted 37-11 to pass House Bill 347 following its third reading. If the state House concurs, and that seems to be a formality, all that would remain would be for Gov. Roy Cooper to sign the bill. HB 347 stipulates that the North Carolina Lottery would need to get sports wagering regulations in place by Jan. 8, 2024.
After being amended, HB 347 now an increased tax rate of 18% on sports wagering revenue. The original bill stated a 14% tax rate.
According to a Fiscal Analysis Memorandum issued Tuesday by North Carolina, fiscal year 2023-24 estimates show total sports wagering tax and fee revenue set at $22.1 million, increasing to $100.6 million by FY 2027-28.
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