The Virginia Lottery reported on Monday that bets in September accounted for nearly $294 million dollars, a 61% increase over August’s total. According to the regulator, the surge was driven in part by the start of college and professional football seasons. This is the first time that Virginians bet legally on regular season football.
Despite those $293,851,531 in bets during September, the numbers still fall short on the peak earlier this year in March, when the NCAA’s March Madness tournament drove a record betting volume across the country.
Sportsbooks took in more gross gaming revenue than ever before, as the commonwealth neared the record for quickest state in the U.S. history to reach $2 billion in lifetime wagers, reported PlayVirginia, which tracks Virginia’s sports betting market.
Betting per day surged to $9.8 million per day over September from $5.9 million over the 31 days of August, when $182.4 million in bets were made. Gross gaming revenue rose 72.1% to $30.9 million from $18.0 million in August, breaking the record $26.6 million in revenue collected in March. Promotions whittled taxable revenue down to $10.3 million for the month, yielding $1.6 million in state taxes, including $38,937 for problem gambling support.
Since launching in January 2021, Virginia has produced $1.97 billion in wagers and $175.9 million in gross gaming revenue. New Jersey, now the nation's largest market, was the quickest market to reach $2 billion in lifetime revenue, doing it in 10 months. As the NFL and college football seasons have started in September, October’s numbers are expected to be even higher, marking a new record.
Eric Ramsey, an analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayVirginia.com, wrote about Virginia’s numbers in September and said: "Virginia has from the very beginning reached the higher end of expectations. What's remarkable is that the state keeps reaching these milestones in record time, and until September the state's sportsbooks had yet to enjoy a full month of football betting."
Dann Stupp, lead analyst for PlayVirginia, added: “Virginia's bettors responded to their first opportunity to bet on regular season football in exactly the way that was expected. The next three months should bring a plethora of records, which will be a fitting close to a wildly successful first year for the state's sportsbooks."
Of the nine sports betting operators currently live in the commonwealth, FanDuel has been the biggest driver of Virginia’s expansion. According to data released last week by the Virginia Lottery Board, FanDuel has handled 45.5% of the wagers through the market’s first eight months. DraftKings has accounted for 26.1% of the state's total handle. BetMGM is third in market share with 17.9%.
"FanDuel was first to the market and it used its partnership with the Washington Football Team to really propel it so far," Stupp said. "The marketing might of FanDuel and DraftKings is a competitive advantage for both companies in every market. But Virginia is still young when it comes to legal sports betting, and it will continue to evolve."