The Virginia Lottery reported a March sports betting handle of $304 million, with action on the NCAA tournament accounting for more than one-quarter of the money wagered.
Despite a carveout that bans wagering on state colleges and universities — making a total of five games involving Virginia, Virginia Tech, Norfolk State, and Liberty unavailable to bettors — a total of nearly $83.6 million was wagered on college basketball’s signature event. VCU’s first-round game versus Oregon was declared a no-contest due to the team having multiple positive COVID-19 tests.
Wynn Sports became the sixth operator to launch in Virginia on March 11, just before the start of the NCAA tournament. Overall, the handle was a 14.4% increase on February’s total of nearly $265.8 million in the first full month of betting.
Operators posted an 8.74% win rate, which resulted in more than $26.5 million in gross gaming revenue. While they are still burning through a substantial amount of promotional play — the $10.3 million was 21.6% less than February — there was positive adjusted gross revenue for the first time as operators finished with $13.8 million in AGR after a combined total of nearly -$6.5 million in January and February.
As a result, the state received close to $1.2 million in taxes, a four-fold increase from February’s total of $300,594.
FanDuel takes early lead in market share
Being first to market has its advantages, and that has proven the case in Virginia for FanDuel. The licensed operator of the Washington Football team, FanDuel commenced operations Jan. 21, three days ahead of DraftKings, and six ahead of both BetRivers and BetMGM, and has not looked back.
According to a presentation made during a Virginia Lottery meeting April 21, FanDuel had 53% of the market share in the state — more than double DraftKings, which was second at 25%. Based on the $628.7 million wagered thus far in Virginia, that would put FanDuel’s handle at approximately $333.2 million, while DraftKings has accepted an estimated $157.2 million in wagers.
FanDuel has also had the most promotional play in the new market, accounting for 43% of the $30.3 million reported by the Virginia Lottery. DraftKings was also second in this category at 23%, and Caesars — operating through William Hill — was third at 20%.
March also marked the first time more than one operator finished with positive adjusted gross revenue as FanDuel and DraftKings paid taxes in addition to BetMGM. FanDuel remitted $547,886 taxes for March, while BetMGM’s payment of $359,699 was higher than its remittance from January and February combined.
DraftKings’ first tax remittance totaled $275,819, and Caesars, Wynn, and BetRivers have yet to finish with enough adjusted gross revenue in any month for remittance.
New national monthly handle mark coming
With only Illinois left to report its figures, it is a near lock that a national monthly record for handle will be set in March. That would mark the seventh time in eight months. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia — New York does not publish sports betting handle — have reported nearly $3.98 billion worth of wagers, which is currently $385 million short of the record $4.36 billion wagered in January.
Given Illinois had a handle of $510 million in February, March’s national handle could reach $4.6 billion. The Illinois Gaming Board reported an NCAA tournament handle of $176.8 million even with one operator yet to provide figures last week, and Barstool Sports became the sixth mobile option in the state last month.
If Illinois reports a handle of $525 million or more, the overall national handle in the post-PASPA era will clear $52 billion.