Virginia December Sports Betting Handle is 2nd-Highest, But Revenue Plunges

Virginia December Sports Betting Handle is 2nd-Highest, But Revenue Plunges
By Bill Ordine

Although seeing an increase in handle, Virginia sports betting figures for December were consistent with the national trend regarding substantial drops in revenues.

Sports betting, which launched as an all-online market in Virginia on Jan. 21, 2021, averaged about $300 million a month through the rest of 2021. In the 11 months that legal and regulated online sports wagering has been in operation in Virginia, bettors have wagered $3.2 billion on a variety of sporting events.

Two more sportsbooks should launch in Virginia in the first quarter of 2022. During a gaming update presentation at the Virginia Lottery board meeting on. Jan. 12, it was announced that “temporary permits were awarded to Digital Gaming Corporation VA, LLC (11/24/2021) and VHL, VA LLC (11/25/2021). These operators are expected to launch sometime in Q1 2022.”

That would put Betway (Digital Gaming’s sports betting brand) and SI Sportsbook/888 (VHL, VA) live before April.

Virginia Sports Betting, December vs. November

Total HandleRevenue Taxes
December$426.597M$10.123M$1.729M
November$402.621M$29.927M$4.233M
Change Up 6.0% Down 66.2% Down 59.2%

Here are three takeaways from the December sports betting report for Virginia:

Virginia Handle Climbs

Virginia has only mobile sports wagering at the moment and the commonwealth’s 11 licensed online operators reported a combined handle of about $427 million in December, a 6% increase from November ($402.6 million).

The December handle was less than $1 million behind than the record-setting month of October.


VA Revenue Plunges

Across the country, jurisdictions with legal sports wagering have seen dramatic drops in revenue for their operators in December, apparently a reflection of the betting public’s extraordinary luck across-the-board.

In Virginia’s case, adjusted gross revenue for December was just a little over $10.1 million dollars, which was a substantial drop from November (almost $30 million). The wagering public’s win of $395 million meant that the operators’ combined “hold” from the handle was 7.3%.

Also eating into the December adjusted gross revenue figure was that operators reported more than $17 million in promotions and free play. The commonwealth allows for those expenses, which are often associated with customer acquisition and retention, as well as other authorized deductions to be used in calculating the AGR figure.


Taxes Collected Drop

With adjusted gross revenue dropping dramatically, tax collections also took a hit. December sports betting taxes were $1,729,130, down 59.2% from November ($4,233,167).The tax rate is 15% of the AGR.

While the December tax numbers were down, since the Jan. 21 launch of online sports betting in Virginia, the commonwealth has realized $20.3 million in sports betting taxes.

Also, in that time, more than $508,000 has gone to a problem gambling treatment and support fund.

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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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