Virginia still set for $1bn record despite April decline

Virginia sports betting continued a US trend of declining volume, with an expected drop in wagering to less than $240m in April coming as a result of a slower spring and summer sports schedule.

Virginia sportsbooks recorded their first month-over-month fall since launching in January, as well as its lowest monthly handle of any of the region’s first months of sports betting

“April is a reminder of the seasonality of sports betting, and Virginia is not immune,” said Jessica Welman, analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network

“In the US, there really isn’t any way to replace the popularity of the NFL or the NCAA Tournament with bettors. The seasonal slowdown should last until football season, which will almost certainly return the market to significant growth.”

Virginia sportsbooks attracted $236.4m in bets in April, which is down 22.2 per cent from $304.1m in March. With no major sports holiday to spur interest, sportsbooks took in $7.9m per day over the 30 days in April, down from $9.8m in March.

Sportsbooks still won $19.4m on April’s bets, which is down from $26.6m in March. April’s win led to $11.4m in adjusted gross revenue, down from $13.8m but still a higher share of gross revenue than in March. That yielded $1.7m in state taxes, including $41,304 for problem gambling support.

“The lighter sports schedule came at a time when the initial enthusiasm from the launch of sports betting naturally began to wane in Virginia, which steepened the monthly decline,” said Dustin Gouker, analyst for PlayVirginia.com and the PlayUSA.com Network

“Still revenue held relatively strong, producing the most tax revenue to date for the commonwealth. That is a good sign heading into summer.”

Now boasting $865.2m in wagering since launching in late January, Virginia is still on the precipice of becoming the quickest state to reach the $1bn milestone. 

That distinction is currently held by Tennessee, which reached the mark six months after launch. Assuming Virginia can top $135m in bets in May, it will have hit $1bn in the market’s fifth month of existence.

Every state with legal sports betting has reported a month-over-month decline in April wagering. Of the largest sports betting markets in the U.S. that have already reported April data, Indiana (-25.4 per cent), Iowa (-26.7 per cent), and Michigan (-30.5 per cent) all experienced a more dramatic month-over-month decline than Virginia. New Jersey (-13 per cent), Tennessee (-13.6 per cent), Pennsylvania (-14.4 per cent), and Colorado (-18.8 per cent) faired marginally better.

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