According to PlayVirginia, Virginia’s sportsbooks have had a good run, attracting almost $60 million in wagers in the first 11 days since the market opened on January 21, the second-highest monthly amount in US history for any state in the first month of legal sports betting.
According to the Virginia Lottery, sportsbooks in the state produced $58.9 million in handle in January. Only Tennessee, which earned $131.4 million in bets in the 30 days following its November 1 debut, outperformed Virginia in its first month, while Virginia outperformed Tennessee on a per-day basis.
Michigan raised $150.8 million in January after introducing online sports betting for the first time on Jan. 21. The state plans to open retail sports betting in 2020.
Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayVirginia.com said: “Like its neighbour in Tennessee, Virginia’s online-only market had some advantages that helped fuel such a successful launch. Debuting ahead of the NFL’s conference championship games and the Super Bowl ensured there would be heavy interest from bettors.
“In addition, launching with top-flight sportsbook operators in place to serve a market with years of pent-up demand is a recipe for success.”
On January’s bets, Virginia’s sportsbooks made $3.6 million in gross gaming income. However, three of the state’s four sportsbooks lost money due to an expectedly strong early advertising drive. This resulted in a $3.2 million loss in adjusted gaming sales.
The advertising credits lowered the state’s take to $39,710, which requires a $38,718 infusion into the general fund.
Significant promotional expenses
Dustin Gouker, analyst for PlayVirginia.com said: “The relatively small injection in tax dollars is eye-catching, but significant promotional expenses are a given in a market’s first few days.
“We saw the very same dynamic play out in the first days of Michigan’s online market, as well. The bottom line is that Virginia’s market is off to a good start, with significant interest from bettors across the state. That will certainly pay off for the state in coming months.”
The major operators in the United States were on hand when Virginia’s market opened. FanDuel released on January 21, followed by DraftKings and BetMGM on January 24. On January 26, BetRivers joined the fray. William Hill first opened its doors in February, and more are on the way.
But that is just the opening salvo for Virginia’s sports betting industry, which PlayVirginia believes to expand to produce some $5bn in annual bets at maturity.
“This was a great start for Virginia, but it’s important to remember that this is just the first few days of the market,” Welman said. “More operators will launch in Virginia and the market should quickly evolve. But in just a few days, it’s clear that Virginia is on its way to becoming one of just a handful of major US markets once it reaches maturity.”