Despite A Rise In Virginia Sports Betting, Gross Revenue Falls In August

Written By J.R. Duren on October 2, 2023
Washington Commanders Running Back Brian Robinson Jr. (8) Scores Touchdown During An NFL Football Game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023

It was an up-and-down month for Virginia sports betting operators in August.

The state’s 14 online sportsbooks and one retail location generated $315.6 million in handle (total amount bet) this past month, up 8.6% compared to July, according to the newest data from the Virginia Lottery. However, revenue fell 1.1% from $28.2 million in July to $27.9 million in August.

Handle performed well year-on-year, too, according to the lottery, rising more than 12%.

“Between August 1 and August 31, 2023, Virginians wagered $319,005,942… 12.1% higher than last August,” the Virginia Lottery’s press release noted about August’s revenue numbers.

Bettors take home bigger win total in August

The main culprit behind the month’s decrease in gross revenue: bettors won a bigger share of their bets. Bettors took home about $25.5 million more in August compared to July.

The August handle rose around $24.6 million, which means revenue numbers were doomed even before deductions such as bonuses and promotions were subtracted.

Mobile SportsbooksRetail SportsbooksAugust TotalJuly TotalMonth-on-Month Change
Gross Revenue$315,647,877$3,358,066$319,005,942$293,611,7898.6%
Gross Win by Bettors$283,722,058$2,923,996$286,646,054$261,140,3939.8%
Bonuses and Promotions$743,076$0$743,076$827,332-10.2%
Other Deductions$3,687,953$23,716$3,711,669$3,433,1378.1%
Adjusted Gross Revenue$27,494,790$410,354$27,905,144$28,210,927-1.1%

Online betting continues to dominate Virginia sports betting

Online sports betting has been king in Virginia since it launched in 2021. Much of that domination has to do with sheer numbers: there are 14 online books compared to one retail book that opened 14 months ago.

Because of that, online sportsbooks account for 98.95% of the state’s handle and 98.53% of its sports betting revenue.

However, that should change over the next year if the state’s four approved casinos include retail sportsbooks. If all four casinos have numbers roughly the same as Hard Rock Sportsbook Bristol, retail books would grab, in theory, around 4.2% of the handle and 5.8% of revenue.

What might stand in the way of those projections is how much effort retail sportsbooks put into offering promotions and bonuses. Hard Rock Bristol reported $0 of bonuses and promos for August, which eliminated a deduction that accounted for around 1% of the online handle.

What to expect next month for Virginia sports betting revenue

Generally speaking, sports betting handle goes up in September and October. The NFL season is underway, accounting for jumps in total bets across the country.

Here’s how the handle looked last year from July to December:

Total Revenue

Based on last year’s trends, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the handle surge to between $445 million and $450 million next month. Additionally, we could see Virginia sports betting handle hit a record high in October, as eclipsing $550 million would fit with year-on-year handle growth.

Photo by Matt Slocum / AP Photo
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J.R. Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

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