Virginia Sports Betting Powers to $304m March Handle

Sports bettors in Virginia wagered more than $300 million in the month of March 2021. The result was an excellent one for the Old Dominion State, in only its second full month of legal online sports betting, and driven by the March Madness college basketball tournament, which represented 27.5% of all bets ($83.6 million) placed in the month.

Breaking Down the March Sports Betting Handle in Virginia

Looking the final official figures for March, the state regulator, the Virginia Lottery announced a final betting handle for the month of $304.06 million, an increase of approximately 14% (more than $48 million) on the numbers for February. The state’s sports bettors won $277.49 million worth of bets, resulting in 8.74% ‘hold’ for the state’s 6 sports betting operators. Gross gaming revenue (after costs and promotions were taken out), netted $13.845 million, up $10 million on the February numbers.

Meanwhile, taxes generated by Virginia sports betting was $1.2 million, a handy windfall to assist in funding a range of services, infrastructure and problem gambling services for the Old Dominion State’s residents. A state statute stipulates that 97.5% of sports betting taxes are to be deposited in the state’s General Fund and 2.5% needs to be deposited into the State’s Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund.

With this impressive March result, Virginia became only the 8th state in the U.S. to record a legal sports betting handle of more than $300 million. Of course, with the state’s land-based sportsbooks not due to open until at least the fall of 2022, 100% of Virginia’s legal sports wagers were placed online.

FanDuel takes the Early Virginia Market Share Lead

Evidently, being the first online sportsbook to market in Virginia has provided an distinct advantage to FanDuel as the sportsbook jumps out to an early lead in terms of market share in the Commonwealth. The Virginia recently announced that FanDuel has more than 53% of market share since the state’s legal sports betting launch, more than double the 25% of DraftKings.

Based on the $628.7 million of legal sports bets wagered to date in Virginia, FanDuel’s handle is in the range of approximately $333.2 million, while DraftKings has received an estimated $157.2 million in online bets.

FanDuel also has the lead in the total of promotions claimed in Virginia since the state’s sports betting launch, at 43% of all promotions, while DraftKings offered 23% of all Virginia sports betting promotions and William Hill settled in for third, with 20% of the promotions total.

March also saw the first month that at least three online sportsbooks were profitable, and therefore, returned taxes back to the state;

  • FanDuel sent more than $547 000 back into state coffers;
  • DraftKings added another $275 000 into the government’s revenue stream; and
  • BetMGM also provided more than $359 000 in order to assist with the state budget.

A total of seven sportsbooks are now live in Virginia, after Unibet launched in the Old Dominion State on April 28. The Unibet launch followed WynnBet becoming Virginia’s sixth operator on March 12, right before the beginning of the March Madness college basketball tournament.

Another three sportsbooks have been approved for launch by the Virginia Lottery, although dates are yet to be provided as to when Barstool Sportsbook, Bally’s and the Golden Nugget Online will go live.

After Virginia Governor Ralph Northam recently signed new legislation into law, Virginia will now allow up to 18 sportsbooks in the state, an increase on the 12 sportsbooks permitted under the previous law. The legislation has also opened up the possibility of sports wagering on the Olympics, just in time to take advantage of the Tokyo Olympics, set to begin on July 23.

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