The sports betting industry in Virginia is off to a great start, and even bigger things are expected in the remainder of 2021. Online sportsbooks in Virginia posted a total handle of $304.1 million in March, which was just the second full month that the industry was available.
At this time, retail sportsbooks are not available, but that will change as the year goes on. Virginia is a state that had restrictive gambling laws in place, but lawmakers were able to change those in an effort to find a new revenue source.
The $304 million was an increase of nearly 15 percent after the state posted a total sports betting handle of $265.8 million in February. Most in the industry predicted that Virginia would become a strong market, but it is off to a much better start than expected.
March was also a big month for sportsbooks in terms of total revenue as well. The total sports betting revenue for the month was $13.8 million after it was negative $2.2 million in February.
Sportsbooks in the state continue to offer bonuses and rewards in an attempt to get new customers, and that has affected the overall revenue.
March Madness Leads the Way
March was a good month for most states throughout the US, and the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament was a big reason why. March Madness betting in Virginia accounted for $83.6 million, or nearly 28 percent of the March total.
There is a law in place that prohibits betting on in-state college teams, and that kept the March Madness betting numbers from being even larger. This law was established to help protect the integrity of NCAA events.
As of now, Virginia is the 6th largest sports betting market for the month of March. Illinois has not yet announced its totals, and that will likely bump the state down a spot.
Unibet Latest to Launch
May could be another record-setting month for the state as there will be seven operators available for the entire month. Unibet officially launched sports betting on April 28, becoming the seventh operator to offer betting.
WynnBET had been the latest operator to launch an online sportsbook, but that launch came all the way back on March 12. The Virginia State Lottery has approved three other online sportsbooks, but a launch date has not yet been set.
BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, and William Hill have already launched in Virginia and are four of the biggest names in the US.
New Law Coming in July
Even though the sports betting industry has just gotten going in Virginia, there will already be a change coming to the sports betting laws. Governor Ralph Northam is in favor of creating more competitive sports betting market, and this new law will do just that.
According to the new law, at least 18 sports betting licenses will be available in Virginia. That number was originally 12, but the state has received more interest than expected from operators.