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US – Virginia sportsbooks post record win from $400m in November betting

By - 4 January 2022

Virginia sportsbooks posted their most lucrative month yet as revenue in November surged to nearly $50 million on more than $400m in wagers, producing a record month of tax revenue for the state. Virginia has now posted three consecutive months of record revenue.

“When football and basketball seasons converge, as they did in November, the inventory of games creates a ripe opportunity for sportsbooks,” said Dann Stupp, lead analyst for PlayVirginia.com. “Importantly, it shows that Virginians have more diverse interests than just football, a sign that sportsbooks won’t be giving up the gains made over the past three months once the football season ends.”

Bettors poured $402.6m in wagers into Virginia’s sportsbooks in November, falling six per cent short of October’s $427.3m, according to data released Thursday by The Virginia Lottery. Betting volume slipped to $13.4m per day over the 30 days of November from $13.8m in October.

But sportsbooks won a record $48.3m, up 60 per cent from $30.2m in revenue generated in October and topping the record $30.9m set in September. After $14.9m in promotional spending, taxable revenue landed at $29.9m, yielding a record $4.2m in state taxes.

Sportsbooks posted a hold, the percentage of all wagers that a sportsbook keeps, of 12 per cent for the month. That’s the second highest ever for the state. Some of that is a result of bad luck on NFL games in November. Some is a result of online in-game betting, which typically yields a higher hold than more conventional wagering.

“A higher hold percentage is additional evidence that the market is maturing,” said Eric Ramsey, an analyst for the PlayUSA.com Network, which includes PlayVirginia.com. “Not only have sportsbooks gained more customers, particularly over the last three months, but bettors are becoming more at ease with less conventional forms of betting.”

Over the last three months, Virginia’s sportsbooks have generated $109.4m in revenue on $1.1bn in wagers, producing $7.5m in state taxes.

Football-related wagering has spurred the recent surge in action. But November’s calendar offered just four weekends of football, one fewer than in October, and the Washington Football Team played just three games. Yet sportsbooks made up for the loss of football inventory with a full month of the NBA, as well as the opening of the college basketball season.

“The popularity of football is the industry’s greatest opportunity to attract new customers and expand the market,” Stupp said. “But the importance of basketball is often overlooked. In most major markets it is the highest-grossing sport, a product of the number of games played compared with football. And November’s results show that Virginia is following a similar pattern.”

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