Virginia Sports Betting Sees 17.2% Drop in February; Still Tops $400M

Virginia Sports Betting Sees 17.2% Drop in February; Still Tops $400M
By Bill Ordine
Fact Checked by Ron Fritz

In February, sports betting in Virginia saw operators experience similar results as in other jurisdictions throughout the country that month.

Total handle was down from January, which was not unexpected with the NFL essentially reduced to one game, albeit an important one, the Super Bowl.

However, the month also illustrated the volatility of the sports wagering business — as well as the impact of marketing largesse — with adjusted gross revenue plummeting in Virginia from the previous month.

Total sports wagering in the commonwealth’s online sports wagering business was nearly $401.9 million, down 17.2% from January’s record $485.5 million. The Super Bowl itself drew $33.157 million in bets.

Virginia Sports Betting, Feb. vs. Jan.

Total HandleRevenue Taxes
February$401.889M$7.884M$1.406M
January$485.544M$18.221M$2.877M
Change Down 17.2% Down 56.7% Down 51.1%

Steep Drop in AGR

Regarding adjusted gross revenue (AGR), the drop was much steeper. The AGR for February was almost $7.9 million, down 56.7% from January (about $17.2 million).

The decline in AGR was influenced in part by a moderate but not abnormally low 6.8% hold (bettors won about $374.44 million of the total $401.9 million wagered).

But the difference maker in the AGR was in bonuses and promotions given away for customer acquisition by operators which amounted to $15.8 million. That amount comes out of the pre-adjusted revenue number as did another $3.8 million in other allowable deductions to calculate the AGR.

With a tax rate of 15%, the AGR of $7.9 million yielded a tax contribution to the commonwealth of about $1.4 million with about $35,000 of that amount going toward problem gambling treatment and support.

11 Sportsbooks Live in February

During February, Virginia had 11 sportsbook operators running and taking wagers. Of that number, four operators reported net positive AGR for February, according to the Virginia Lottery.

And Hard Rock Sportsbook became the 12th sports betting app to launch in Virginia. It went live the same day its approval was posted on the Virginia Lottery website.

In Virginia, sports wagering is only online at the moment since the commonwealth doesn’t have any brick-and-mortar casinos yet, but that will be changing soon. For instance, a temporary Hard Rock Casino is expected to open in Bristol on July 8. And work has begun on a Caesars casino in Danville, Virginia. Other casinos are also planned.

At this point, Virginia online casinos are not legal.

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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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