Virginia Sports Betting Posts Second-Highest Handle Month in March

Virginia Sports Betting Posts Second-Highest Handle Month in March
By Bill Ordine
Fact Checked by Ron Fritz

Like most states with legalized sports wagering, Virginia had a bounce-back month in March from February.

The 12 online operators for Virginia sports betting reported about $469.5 million in handle, the second-highest total for Virginia behind January 2022 when the NFL playoffs were in full swing along with the NBA, the NHL and college basketball.

Obviously, the March betting figures were buoyed by the NCAA Basketball Tournament. January’s record was $485.5 million.

Though wagering specifically on Virginia college athletics is prohibited — eliminating betting on Virginia Tech and Norfolk State, who were in the tournament — the March Madness event alone attracted $109.5 million in bets, or about 23% of the total sports wagering handle for the month.

During March, bettors won about $435.78 million which meant a combined 7.18% operators hold.

Virginia Sports Betting, March vs. February

Total HandleRevenue Taxes
March$469.484M$14.324M$2.116M
February$401.889M$7.884M$1.406M
Change Up 16.8% Up 81.7% Up 50.5%

AGR Rises in March

After allowances provided to operators for certain items, such as payer acquisition and retention incentives — which, in March, were more than $14 million in bonuses and promotions and another $5.27 million in other deductions — the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) for the sportsbooks was $14.32 million. That was an increase of 81.7% from February ($7.88 million).

Virginia levies a 15% tax on sports wagering AGR so the commonwealth saw about $2.11 million in tax money, up 50.5% from February (about $1.41 million).

12 Active Sportsbooks With More Coming

During March, there were 12 licensed operators active and accepting mobile sports wagers, with Hard Rock Digital being the latest operator to begin accepting sports bets in Virginia.

At the Virginia Lottery board meeting Wednesday, a presentation from the lottery showed that SI Sportsbook was scheduled to launch Wednesday (that didn’t happen, but it could go live at any time) and that Betway is scheduled to go live on May 18. They would be the state’s 13th and 14th online sportsbooks, respectively.

While sports wagering has been entirely online, the commonwealth will soon have its first brick-and-mortar casino.  On April 27, the Virginia Lottery Board issued to Hard Rock Bristol a facility operator’s license to operate Virginia’s first casino. The casino has announced a July 8 opening at the former Bristol Mall in Bristol, Virginia.

There are no Virginia online casinos yet.

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Contributors

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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