Sports wagering continues to grow in Virginia, topping $1.32 billion through June, with more operators preparing to enter the market.
Gina Smith, deputy director of gaming compliance at the Virginia Lottery, shared details of the first six months of sports wagering in Virginia with the Lottery Board during its quarterly meeting. After being approved by the General Assembly in 2020, sports betting began in late January. Virginia gamblers made more than $1 billion in wagers in less than five full months.
Unofficially, about $234.9 million was wagered in Virginia in June, with final figures expected at month’s end. That is up slightly compared to the $226.9 million wagered in May.
At 31.5%, pro basketball has been the most popular sport to bet on while parlay bets across all sports represent 18% of all wagers, Smith said.
“It will be interesting to see the shift as football starts up again. I know the operators are really anxious for the football season to start,” she said.
Sports wagering has generated more than $7.82 million in taxes, Smith said.
“We have seven operators up and running, and we have three in the pipeline that we’ve approved, and two of those three are expected to go live by the middle of August,” Smith told the board. “We are working with them, and the last one will be a couple of months behind that.”
Golden Nugget Online VA LLC and Penn Sports Interactive LLC were approved March 15 and are expected to launch next month. Bally’s Corp. was also approved March 15 but hasn’t scheduled a launch date, Smith said.
Of the current operators, FanDuel has about half the market, with 49.5% of the state’s sports wagers. DraftKings has about 22% of the market, and Caesars has 16%. Bet MGM has handled 14% of bets thus far, followed by Rivers Casino at 3% and Wynn and Unibet at 1% each.
In the original legislation, casino operators in five Virginia cities were assured a sportsbook license. Earlier this year, the Virginia General Assembly modified legislative language to carve out those five casinos from the state limit of 12 sports betting providers.
“Essentially, that freed up five more permits that we can issue to operators,” Smith said. “From May 15 to May 31, we had our application period open, and, during that time period, we received a total of 18 applications. We are currently reviewing them right now,” she said.
Two current sports license holders, Caesars Virginia and Rivers Portsmouth Gaming, are also designated casino operators.
Any additional expansion would require a change in state law, Smith told the board.
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