Revenue Up for Virginia Sports Betting in May Though Handle Declines

Revenue Up for Virginia Sports Betting in May Though Handle Declines
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

Virginia’s sports wagering handle fell to $351.45 million in May, a drop of 12% from April when bettors placed $399.48 million in wagers with the commonwealth’s licensed online sportsbooks.

The dip from April to May at Virginia sportsbooks followed a previous month-to-month decline when April’s handle was 14.9% lower than March.

The figures, submitted by the Virginia Lottery, are generally consistent with the ebb-and-flow of sports wagering throughout the year as betting slows substantially during the spring and summer and surges during football season.

For May, the state’s 14 sports wagering operators realized $27.52 million in adjusted gross revenue — a 32.6% hike from the $20.76 million in April — after deducting almost $10 million in bonuses and promotions and another $5 million in other deductions.

Of those 14 sportsbooks who were active in May, five reported net positive AGR for the month, yielding $3.9 million in tax payments (28.2% above April, when the state collected just over $3 million). Virginia sportsbook promo codes are available via the top online operators.

Virginia Sports Betting, May vs. April

Total HandleRevenue Taxes
Change Down 12.0% Up 32.6% Up 28.2%

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Budget Amendment Changing Deductions

Meanwhile, the liberal deduction policy that the commonwealth online sportsbooks have enjoyed was addressed in a budget amendment in June that limited the deduction to just one year.

The amendment language said: “After the first 12 months of sports betting activity, a permit holder is prohibited from excluding from adjusted gross revenue any bonuses or promotions provided to bettors as an incentive to place or as a result of their having placed Internet sports betting wagers.”

Since the budget and its provisions become effective July 1, changes in tax collections should be seen in the next few months.

Virginia taxes the adjusted gross revenue at 15% but the allowances for deductions have been a drag on the actual tax collections. To its credit, Virginia distributes 2.5% of the tax money to be deposited into the Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund administered by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health.

Healthy Hold in May For Virginia Sportsbooks

The financial figures for May show that operators did enjoy a relatively healthy month from a “luck” perspective. The combined average hold was 12.10% for operators compared to about 9% in April and a little over 7% in March.

Virginia’s sports betting industry has been entirely digital since the commonwealth has not had any operating bricks-and-mortar casinos, but that will be changing.

A temporary Hard Rock casino in Bristol is scheduled to open July 8 while a permanent casino is being built. News reports are that the casino will include an in-person sportsbook.

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Bill Ordine was a reporter and editor in news and sports for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore Sun for 25 years, and was a lead reporter on a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News. Bill started reporting on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for 10 years. He covered the World Series of Poker for a decade and his articles on gaming have appeared in many major U.S. newspapers, such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald and others

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