After $58.9 million was wagered in the last 11 days of January, the Virginia sports betting market took a huge step forward in February, posting $265.8 million in total handle.
For context, Colorado, one of the top sports betting markets in the country, had a total handle of $266.5 million in February. Sports betting has been live in the western state since last May.
And the start in Virginia certainly compares favorably to Michigan, which launched its online market on Jan 22, a day after Virginia. Michigan’s first full month of online sports betting saw an online handle of $301.8 million.
Here are some key points from the February sports betting report for Virginia that was released Thursday:
Still Too Many Giveaways in VA
Virginia bookmakers had 4.6% hold, but gave away $13.2 million in promotions and bonuses, and also had more than $2.3 million in other deductions. The adjusted gross revenue was in the red for the month at minus $3.2 million.
That should change as the market matures and sportsbooks cut down on promos to acquire new bettors. And despite the revenue number, Virginia still collected $300,593 in taxes, with $293,079 going to the state’s General Fund and $7,514 tothe Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund.
Virginia Launched Just in Time
Thanks to the launch on Jan. 21, sports betting was in place for Super Bowl 55 and March Madness.
In Virginia, the $19.5 million bet on the Super Bowl was about 7.3% of total wagers for the month. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, led by Tom Brady, easily beat the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs, 31-9 on Feb. 7.
Five Sportsbooks Were Live
Five sportsbooks — FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, Rivers and William Hill — were live in February. Since then, WynnBET has gone live and three more operators have been approved — Golden Nugget, Bally’s Corp. and Penn National Gaming (Barstool Sportsbook). They have not announced when they will launch.
With another sportsbook live during March and with the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments going strong, March could be a more-impressive month for Virginia. But it’s important to remember that betting on college games involving Virginia-based teams is not permitted, and you can’t place proposition bets on college sports.