Financial results

Virginia sees $433.8M in sports betting handle during February, down 15% from January

Reading time 1:39 min

The Virginia Lottery has released its latest sports wagering report, showing that people in the state bet more than $433.8 million on sporting events during February, and won more than $394 million. 

More than $430 million of sports betting revenue came from mobile operators, with the remaining roughly $3.55 million coming from casino retail activity out of the temporary Hard Rock Bristol casino and the state’s first permanent casino, Rivers Casino Portsmouth. 

February gaming revenues from Virginia casinos totaled $38.39 million, with about $24.66 million of that coming from the Portsmouth casino, according to data released in mid-March.

Sports betting gross revenues were a 7.9% increase from those reported in February 2022 but a 15% decrease from January’s $513 million handle. Bets on the Super Bowl comprised $32.3 million of Virginia wagers in February.

February's $433.8 million handle ended a four-month stretch where betting topped $500 million. “Like many states with active sports betting markets, Virginia took a hit this February. Wagers were down about 15% and revenue dipped a little over 30%, despite the Super Bowl earlier in the month," according to analyst Dru James.

“While this is not abnormal market behavior, the margin by which these markets have declined month-to-month has varied greatly. Even large, established markets like New York and New Jersey saw decreases in wagers close to or over 30%. Michigan saw a 50% decline in revenue from January to February."

Virginia places a 15% tax on sports betting activity based on each permit holder’s adjusted gross revenue. With nine operators reporting net positive adjusted gross revenue for February, the monthly taxes totaled $4.68 million, 97.5% of which will be deposited in the state’s general fund. 

The remaining 2.5% will go to the Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund, which the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services administers.

The state has recently moved to take measures to regulate electronic gaming. In the past five years, regulated gambling in Virginia has grown significantly, reaching $12.4 billion in 2022, and these new measures could bring about a significant boost. 

New regulations will be implemented for the electronic games that fraternal organizations, veterans groups, and other charitable bodies use to supplement the old bingo games that were the mainstays of their fundraising efforts.

They will be followed by new rules for the in-person Texas Hold ‘Em poker tournaments that charitable groups want to use to freshen up their "fun-while-fundraising" pitches.

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