Sportsbook operators in Virginia had a much more successful month of March than did the state’s college basketball teams.
The University of Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University both got bounced in the first round of the NCAA Tournament — the former in a true stunner of a finish vs. Furman. The state’s sportsbooks, on the other hand, did the bouncing vs. bettors. In March, operators posted their highest collective hold percentages, gross revenue tallies, and adjusted revenue figures of the year to this point.
The total handle for March reported by the Virginia Lottery came in at $511.6 million, the fifth time in the last six months it landed between $500 million and $530 million — the lone exception coming in the 28-day month of February. Wagering handle was up 17.9% month-over-month and 9% compared to March 2022.
The hold rate of 10.8% was the highest since November, with bettors perhaps going big behind UVA and VCU during March Madness. After accounting for $7.6 million in promotional deductions, the books enjoyed adjusted gross revenue (AGR) of $47.7 million, their highest total since the NFL-kickoff month of September.
Retail betting a tiny slice of the pie
Of the $511.6 million wagered, $507 million was bet online — an emphatic 99.1% of the total.
The state collects 15% of AGR in taxes, and though the Virginia Lottery does not disclose handle or revenue figures by individual sportsbook, it did note that 10 operators scored net positive AGR for the month and thus paid taxes.
The state pulled in $7.4 million in taxes for March, with $7.2 million going to the Virginia General Fund and $185,000 left over for the Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund.
Through the first three months of the year, betting handle is up 7.5% over the same period in 2022. Hold has been consistently higher in Virginia as well — the state hasn’t seen a month with that percentage below 9% since June. As a result, gross sportsbook revenue is up a massive 44.4% year-over-year from January through March.