Virginia Can’t Escape July Legal Sports Betting Freefall

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The numbers out of participating US legal sports betting states continue to be staggering… not in a good way. The seasonal summer sports betting slump was especially pronounced in July with every one of the 16 jurisdictions reporting so far experiencing double-digit declines.

Virginia is on the board with their July sports betting figures, and they revealed the lowest betting total ever for the Commonwealth’s six-month-old sports betting scene. Shockingly, bettors spent one-third less at the Commonwealth’s sportsbooks from June to July, thanks to a hugely limited sports betting menu and the fact that summer is characterized by backyard barbecues rather than widespread sports viewing.

The news isn’t all horrible out of Virginia, however. While the handle fell off a cliff, revenues and the sportsbook hold, while still a tad underwhelming didn’t fall to the extent of the overall betting activity.

Getting Into It

Virginia sportsbooks took in just $161.9 million in July which represents a 31% month-to-month drop or about $75 million from the $234.9 million reported in June. July’s total is about 29% less than the previous handle-low of $227 million which came in May.

Gross gaming revenues followed the trend of declines, but profits didn’t suffer at the rate of the overall betting handle. Virginia sportsbooks made about $19.66 million in July – a 9.3% decline, or about a $2 million drop from the profits reported in June.

The difference between the handle and revenue drop was thanks to a high 12.33%-win rate for the state’s casinos.

Tax revenue generated by sportsbooks for state and local coffers came in at a healthy $1.9 million off the $12.7 million in taxable revenues, largely because of Virginia’s high-side 15% tax on legal sports betting.

Compared to Other States…

Virginia had one of the most pronounced handle drop-offs of any that have reported so far. Only Washington DC has reported a higher month-to-month percentage drop than Virginia’s 31.1% at 34.4%. July happened to be the worst month so far for the Virginia legal sports betting industry in its just over 6 months of operation.

However, with just three states still to report (Colorado, Delaware and Illinois), sportsbook profits from Virginia ranked fifth in the nation, thanks to the unusually high hold.

Virginia has occupied a “second-tier” spot on the list of US betting jurisdictions and despite their July struggles still lands within that classification. That is where they started when they entered the market and where they stand today.

They have landed inside the top-8 performing markets since their launch just over six months ago – they are eigth again currently with the assumption that Illinois and Colorado, which have yet to report, finish ahead of them.


Virginia’s streak of five straight months of $200 million+ handles is over. August is likely to be another down month before the NFL season kicks off in September and a healthy spike is expected.

There are still five licenses still to be handed out for the Commonwealth’s legal sports betting scene. Rumors are that some Heavyweight providers could be among those entering the Virginia market.

Barstool Sportsbook launched in August – we will get an idea of their impact on the overall market in about a month’s time. Golden Nugget is slated to go live, Bally Bet hopes to finally cash in on its Virginia market access and newcomer to the US scene BlueBet hopes to make its presence felt in Virginia as well.

It all adds up to what is, and has been a healthy, robust and competitive sports betting market in Virginia.

There is little reason to think their status as a top-10 market slips as we head into what is the bread-and-butter time for US sportsbooks – the NFL season. Expect the Virginia slump to continue through August and for a major bounce back to happen in September. The wait is almost over for what has been a battered betting Virginia scene throughout the summer.