Virginia Sports Betting Sets State Record with $427.3M October Handle & Other Takeaways

Virginia Sports Betting Sets State Record with $427.3M October Handle & Other Takeaways
By Ron Fritz

Like most states in October, Virginia sports betting set a record for handle thanks to five full weekends of NFL and college football during the month. It’s actually become noteworthy if a state didn’t set a record in October.

The total handle for Virginia during October was $427.3 million, a 45% increase from the $293.9 million wagered in September, according to the Virginia State Lottery, which released the October figures on Wednesday. That put the national handle for October to more than $6 billion.

Football certainly helped pace Virginia sports betting as September was a 61% increase from August. The NFL and college football regular seasons began in full force in September.

Since the sports betting market launched in late January, bettors in Virginia have wagered a combined total of nearly $2.4 billion.

The lottery said the October report include nine licensed operators — Betfair Interactive US LLC (FanDuel) in partnership with the Washington Football Team, Crown Virginia Gaming LLC (DraftKings Virginia), BetMGM LLC, Rivers Portsmouth Gaming LLC (Rivers Casino Portsmouth), Caesars Virginia LLC, WSI US, LLC (Wynn), Unibet Interactive, Inc., Penn Sports Interactive LLC and Golden Nugget Online Gaming VA.

Golden Nugget Online Gaming went live at the end of September and was fully operational during October.


Virginia Sports Betting, October vs. September

Total HandleRevenue Taxes
October$427.320M$9.786M$1.746M
September$293.852M$10.334M$1.557M
Change Up 45.4% Down 5.3% Up 12.1%

Here are some key takeaways from the Virginia Gambling report and an update on sportsbooks in the state:

All Mobile, All the Time

For now, Virginia is an all-mobile market. There will be retail sportsbooks in four casinos when they are built, but that isn’t likely until at least 2023. One casino in Bristol plans to open a temporary site in 2022, according to local reports, with a permanent facility opening in late 2023 or early 2024.

Virginia joins Tennessee and Wyoming with all-mobile markets.


Revenue Down, Taxes Up

Although Virginia had a record-setting month for handle, the October sports betting AGR (adjusted gross revenue) was $9.8 million, down 5.3% from September’s $10.3 million. Sportsbooks had a combined hold of 7.06%, according to the lottery.

But the state saw more money as October sports betting taxes were $1.7 million, an increase of 12.1% from September’s $1.6 million. Operators are taxed at 15% based on the AGR.

The Virginia gambling law allows sportsbooks to deduct some customer acquisition costs from AGR, and operators reported that more than $15.8 million in bonuses and free-play incentives were offered in October.


10 Sportsbooks Now Live

Virginia online sports betting currently has 10 sportsbooks live. Bally Bet was the most recent sportsbook to go live on Thanksgiving Day. Three other online sportsbooks — PointsBet, Betway and 888 — have recently been awarded temporary permits by the lottery, but have not announced when they will launch in the state.

The last two to gain approval, according to its website, were Betway (parent company Digital Gaming was awarded a temporary permit on Nov. 24) and 888 Sports (Virginia subsidiary listed as VHL VA LCC was approved on Nov. 25). The sportsbook operators have not announced when they will launch in the state.

They joined PointsBet, whose approval was posted on the website on Nov. 22. PointsBet has a partnership agreement in Virginia with Colonial Downs Group, which was also approved for a temporary permit the same day as PointBet.

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Ron is managing editor of BetVirginia.com. He spent nearly 13 years at The Baltimore Sun, including 12 as sports editor. He previously was sports editor at The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware, for nearly eight years after serving as a news editor there for four years.

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