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Virginia's sportsbooks impress with $60 million debut in January

2 March 2021

(PRESS RELEASE) -- Virginia's sportsbooks are off to an impressive start after collecting nearly $60 million in wagers in the first 11 days after the market launched on 21 January, the second-highest monthly total in U.S. history for any state in its first month of legal sports betting, according to PlayVirginia, which provides news and analysis of the state's gaming industry.

"Like its neighbor in Tennessee, Virginia's online-only market had some advantages that helped fuel such a successful launch," said Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayVirginia.com. "Debuting ahead of the NFL's conference championship games and the Super Bowl ensured there would be heavy interest from bettors. In addition, launching with top-flight sportsbook operators in place to serve a market with years of pent-up demand is a recipe for success."

Virginia sportsbooks generated $58.9 million in handle in January, according to official data released Monday by The Virginia Lottery. Only neighboring Tennessee, which drew $131.4 million in bets in the 30 days after launching on 1 November, generated more than Virginia in its debut month, though Virginia topped Tennessee' per-day total. Michigan, which opened retail sports betting in 2020, collected $150.8 million in January after launching online sports betting for the first time on 21 January.

Virginia's sportsbooks won $3.6 million in gross gaming revenue on January's bets. But with an expectedly heavy early promotional push, three of Virginia's four sportsbooks lost money. That put combined adjusted gaming revenue at a $3.2 million loss.

The promotional credits dampened the state's take, which was $39,710 and includes a $38,718 infusion in the state's general fund.

"The relatively small injection in tax dollars is eye-catching, but significant promotional expenses are a given in a market's first few days," said Dustin Gouker, analyst for PlayVirginia.com. "We saw the very same dynamic play out in the first days of Michigan's online market, as well. The bottom line is that Virginia's market is off to a good start, with significant interest from bettors across the state. That will certainly pay off for the state in coming months."

Virginia's market launched with the biggest operators in the U.S. at the ready. FanDuel went live on 21 January, and DraftKings and BetMGM opened days later on 24 January. BetRivers jumped in the fray on 26 January. William Hill launched in February, and more are expected soon.

But that is just the opening salvo for Virginia's sports betting market, which PlayVirginia expects will grow to generate some $5 billion in annual bets at maturity.

"This was a great start for Virginia, but it's important to remember that this is just the first few days of the market," Welman said. "More operators will launch in Virginia and the market should quickly evolve. But in just a few days, it's clear that Virginia is on its way to becoming one of just a handful of major U.S. markets once it reaches maturity."

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Virginia's sportsbooks impress with $60 million debut in January is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.