The numbers for sports betting in Virginia ended a long streak of months where the state’s handle exceeded $300 million per month.
The June sports betting handle was $295,235,271, down 16.0% from the $351,452,931 reported in May. The year-over-year comparison was more favorable as the June handle was 25.7% higher than June 2021 ($234,943,435). June saw the lowest handle since September, when the state took $293 million in bets, and ended a streak of eight consecutive months with handle over $300 million.
Revenue and taxes were also way down in June, according to the Virginia Lottery, not an unusual development in one of the slowest months of the year for sports betting in markets around the nation.
Virginia Sports Betting, June vs. May
Revenue Falls By More Than Half
The adjusted gross revenue for Virginia sports betting, which had been $27.5 million in May, fell by 52.8% to $12,984,884 in June. That figure was also down 12.8% from June 2021 when it was about $14.9 million.
The taxes from sports betting fell 52.0% in a month-over-month comparison, from $3.9 million in May to $1.87 million. That number was a 17.7% decline from the $2.27 million 12 months earlier.
Without Virginia online casinos, it’s tough for the state to make up those numbers in months where sports betting hits a lull. One way to combat that is for brick-and-mortar casinos to keep up continuous action with slot machines and table games, for instance, to provide revenue that’s less affected by seasonality.
And Virginia, long without physical casinos, has taken a step in that direction.
First Physical Casino Open in Virginia
Hard Rock International opened the state’s first casino in July in the border town of Bristol.
Not only is the temporary facility the first place in Virginia where folks can walk in and play casino games, but it also offers easy access to Tennesseans who wish to do the same. Those in Bristol, Tennessee, home of the famed Bristol Motor Speedway that hosts two NASCAR Cup Series races each year, can drive just minutes to reach the new casino.
A permanent Bristol casino from Hard Rock is planned for a 2024 opening. The temporary location offers 30,000 square feet of gaming space with 870 slots and 21 table games.
Bristol was the first Virginia city to go from voting to approve a casino (in fall 2020) to having one open. Another city that approved a casino project in the state, Norfolk, has new plans for its facility.
The HeadWaters Resort and Casino in Norfolk, from the Pamunkey Tribe, is now pegged for a location east of the ballpark where the Norfolk Tides minor-league baseball team plays. The casino was originally planned for inside the stadium.
The other cities that approved casino projects are Portsmouth and Danville. Richmond rejected a proposal in 2020 and a proposed second run at the ballot box in 2022 is in limbo after the state Assembly passed a budget that would prevent Virginia’s capital city from holding another vote until November 2023.