Virginia’s legal sports betting market has made it through the dog days of summer and now bettors are increasing their action as football season starts.
The Virginia Lottery reported that their online sports betting sites (both mobile and retail) took in $319 million in wagers last month, a 7% jump compared to the $293.6 million during July, Year over year action also rose as handle grew 12% versus August 2022.
With Virginia casinos a few months old the vast majority of bets have been placed online. Specifically 99%, or $315.6 million of last months bets were placed on a phone or computer, while just $3.3 million was placed in person.
Despite the lopsided breakdown, brick and mortar operators made their bets count, holding around 13% of the handle as adjusted profit. The online operators managed to keep a solid 10% of their bets. Both hold percentages were lower than the previous month (retail kept 23% and online kept 11%).
The decline in hold, even though the statewide handle increased, hurt the commonwealth’s tax haul. Operators combined for a $27.9 million adjusted revenue, a hair lower than July’s $28.2 million. From that revenue the final tax bill hit $4.1 million.
Promotions oddly continue to decline
Football season is here, a prime time for sportsbooks to entice bettors to come out of hibernation. But things are more complicated in Virginia.
Yes, the commonwealth allows sportsbooks to deduct promotional offers from their revenue but only a handful are still able to take advantage. The most popular operators, DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, etc, are no longer able to deduct promos (since they launched more than a year ago). That leaves the new entrants, Bet365, Hard Rock Bet, Betfred etc, with an opening to convince bettors to use their platform.
However, it doesn’t look like they are taking advantage.
Promos in Virginia have been on a steady decline all year. Last month there were just $743,000 in deductions, versus $827,000 in July. The bigger platforms are still providing bettors with promos they just can’t write it off like last year. September’s numbers will show whether promos are here to stay in 2024 or if operators continue to cut back.