Virginia’s sportsbooks bounced back in August after a slow July, reaching more than $180m in wagering thanks to the early football season market.
The return to form provides a glimpse of the potential record-breaking months to come as the season goes on according to PlayVirginia, which offers news and analysis of Virginia’s sports betting market.
Dann Stupp, lead analyst for PlayVirginia.com, commented: “Baseball did much of the heavy lifting in August, but NFL futures betting, preseason football, and a small sampling of college games make a significant difference for sportsbooks.
“Seeing any gain is a breath of fresh air after what was the typical slow period for the industry. But August’s gains are just a foreshadow for what will certainly be the busiest stretch since Virginia launched sports betting in January.”
$182.4m was placed in wagers at Virginia’s sportsbooks in August, up 12.7% from July’s $161.9m, according to data released by the Virginia Lottery. The pace of betting grew to $5.9m per day over the 31 days of August, topping $5.2m over the 31 days of July, which was the lowest daily volume in any month this year.
Gross gaming revenue fell 10% to $18m from $20m in July, creating $8.7m in adjusted gross revenue and yielding $1.4m in state taxes, including $34,463 for problem gambling support.
Although gains were made, August’s handle and revenue totals were still well below March’s highs that brought $304.1m in wagers and $26.6m in gross revenue.
However, the Old Dominion state remains on one of the fastest tracks of any legal sports betting market in US history, drawing $1.7bn in wagers and $145m in gross gaming revenue since its January launch.
PlayVirginia expects the final months of 2021 to help the market to new heights with full schedules of college and NFL football. In 2020, despite sport shutdowns, 60.2% of the money wagered legally in the US was placed from September through December.
Eric Ramsey, analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayVirginia.com, added: “We are entering the most important four months for Virginia’s sports betting industry, and it will be exciting to see how Virginia bettors respond to a full schedule of football. It is a great bet that from September through the end of the year, the commonwealth’s sportsbooks will shatter just about every record that was set earlier this year.”
New operators entered the market, targeting the football season to debut to capitalize on increased interest. Football season represents an important opportunity for established operators, too.
Barstool Sports debuted in August, and Golden Nugget is preparing for its launch, pledging funds to five Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Meanwhile, BlueBet Holdings abandoned its pursuit of a license.
Stupp stated: “College football and the NFL will generate hundreds of millions of dollars in bets at Virginia’s sportsbooks, which is important on its own. With increased engagement comes a chance for sportsbooks to grow their customer base. A good promotional strategy set over the summer should start to pay off in September.”