US legal sports betting newcomer Virginia completed just their second full month of taking sports wagers in March and numbers out of the Commonwealth support the notion of it eventually becoming an elite jurisdiction. The Virginia Lottery is reporting optimistic sports betting figures from March, ones that don’t vault it into the top tier of legal sports betting states but certainly cements their status near the top of the second tier.
Launched on January 21, in time to take advantage of the Super Bowl, the Virginia legal sports betting situation has risen quickly in terms of action seen at their sportsbooks. Through it all, Virginia officially passed the more established jurisdiction of Colorado for sixth on the list of bet-friendly states with just Illinois yet to report their March handle.
March Toward $300 million
The Virginia Lottery is reporting an impressive $304.1 million handle for its online-only sports betting platform for March. That figure is 14.4% higher than Virginia’s first full month of legal sports betting, February when the Commonwealth’s sportsbooks took in $265.8 million during a month hindered by a short 28-day wagering period, one less weekend of sports betting action and the end of the NFL season.
The first 11 days of Virginia sports betting by comparison produced a $58.9 million handle in January.
Gross gaming revenues came in at $26.5 million thanks to an 8.74%-win rate. Sportsbooks in the state reported $10.34 million in promotions and bonuses and $2.4 million in other deductions, leading to $13.5 million in adjusted gross revenue for Virginia in March.
A positive adjusted revenue is a story for Virginia unto itself. March marks the first time in Virginia’s short sports betting history that profits were reported.
Thanks to a state-friendly 15% tax rate, Virginia state and local coffers were able to collect $1.18 million from the profits, nearly four times the $300,594 they did in February.
Not unlike the other participating jurisdictions within the US legal sports betting states, basketball was the big story in March. Despite not being able to bet on Virginia schools, March Madness still brough in $83.6 million to the Commonwealth’s sportsbooks, about 27.5% of the total.
The pros brought in their fair share as well. While the NBA will still draw its share of betting attention going forward, the absence of the NCAA Basketball Tournament could lead to a March Madness basketball betting hangover. Hopes are that a full betting menu in April will carry the legal sports wagering momentum in Virginia.
Just five sportsbooks went live on January 21 – BetMGM, BetRivers, the two national DFS giants, and William Hill. WynnBET was quickly added to the Virginia family March 12 and Kindred Group’s Unibet joined the party April 28, giving Virginia bettors seven top-tier options to consider.
Golden Nugget, Bally’s Corp. and Penn National Gaming’s Barstool Sportsbook are on deck for launch although no firm dates have yet been announced.
New legislation passed in the Virginia legislature also paves the way for up to 18 sportsbooks for the state’s legal betting scene. The law goes into effect July 1 and hopes to allow Virginians to take advantage of the Summer Olympic games if they indeed happen.
National Numbers Expected to Approach Record
March’s sports betting uptick wasn’t only a boon for state and local sportsbooks. The total National handle figures should approach, if not pass the $4.36 billion record it posted in January. All we are waiting for is Illinois, a state that reported a $510 million handle in February.
Assuming that Illinois matches February’s total (it is almost a given that they will surpass it), it puts the National handle on track to reach $4.6 billion, easily eclipsing January’s total. March’s national handle will also take the amount of bets collected in the US since the 2018 Supreme Court’s decision to overturn its blanket ban on sports betting to a whopping $52 billion.
The Virginia legal sports betting scene still has some maturing to do and once there, it is expected that their market will consistently land within the top 10 of legal sports betting jurisdictions. Virginia has impressed so far – no reason to think they won’t continue on that path for the foreseeable future.