The Virginia Lottery recently announced the sports betting numbers for February, and the figures were much better than anticipated. February was the first full month of online sports betting in the state, and Virginia could become a top sports betting market in the U.S.
The total sports betting handle in February was just over $265 million. That is a new state record, as just $58 million was wagered during the last eleven months of 2020.
Bettors in Virginia did particularly well in February, winning $253.5 million for a hold percentage of less than four percent. Even though sportsbooks did come out on top, the gross gaming revenue was negative $3.2 million.
Operators offered many promotions during February, and it kept them from producing a profit. Those promotions and bonuses will start to go away as the market becomes more established.
All of the sports betting is currently being done online, but retail sports betting has also been approved. The state is waiting for casino properties to be built in five select cities before issuing any retail licenses.
Super Bowl a Big Hit
There was only one NFL game during February, but it was the biggest game of the year. According to the report from the Virginia Lottery, the Super Bowl betting handle was $19.5 million, or about seven percent of the total for the month.
Only five online sportsbooks were operating in the state during February, but some of the top names in the industry. FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, and William Hill were among the online operators helping to push sports betting.
Already a Top-10 Market
Virginia’s official ranking in the U.S. market won’t be revealed until Illinois releases its figures from February. Illinois should post numbers well above what Virginia brought in, which will bump Virginia down to eighth place.
This is still a terrific start for Virginia, as it nearly equaled the total sports betting handle in the state of Colorado and was close to Michigan. Michigan launched online sports betting at the same time as Virginia, and its total sports betting handle was just over $325 million.
Room to Grow
Getting off to such a great start is promising for Virginia, but this market is not even close to being at full strength. There are several new operators set to launch online sports betting, and retail options will add to the impressive numbers as well.
In March, WynnBET became the sixth online sports betting option in the state, and that should help boost the numbers for last month. There are three other operators already approved to offer online betting, but those operators have not yet set a launch date.
Lawmakers in the state have also made some changes to the sports betting law, and soon, there will be more online licenses available than what was allowed under previous regulations.
The NHL and NBA playoffs are just around the corner, so expanding sports betting opportunities would provide a shot in the arm for sports betting revenue.