Sports

Virginia sports betting grew nearly 13% in August ahead of football season

Virginia sports betting grew nearly 13% in August, primarily because people were able to make wagers on football games shortly before the NFL and college football regular seasons began, according to sports betting analysis website PlayVirginia.

The data, released by the Virginia Lottery, showed that about $182 million in wagers were placed in the commonwealth during August, which was a 12.7% increase from the $161.9 million worth of bests wagered in July. The pace of betting grew throughout the month by about $5.9 million of bets per day, which was higher than the $5.2 million per-day growth in July.

“Baseball did much of the heavy lifting in August, but NFL futures betting, preseason football, and a small sampling of college games make a significant difference for sportsbooks,” lead PlayVirginia analyst Dann Stupp said in a statement. “Seeing any gain is a breath of fresh air after what was the typical slow period for the industry. But August’s gains are just a foreshadow for what will certainly be the busiest stretch since Virginia launched sports betting in January.”

Despite the increase in wagers, sports betting revenue declined in the month, in part because of a variety of promotions for new sports betters that provided them with free bets. Revenue dropped by about 10%, from $20 million to $18 million from July to August, which provided the state with about $1.4 million in tax revenue.

Legal sports betting launched in late January of this year and so far March has been the most successful month. The commonwealth remains one of the fastest growing sports betting markets in the country and PlayVirginia expects greater gains as Virginians will be able to bet on football games throughout the whole season for the time.

“College football and the NFL will generate hundreds of millions of dollars in bets at Virginia’s sportsbooks, which is important on its own,” Stupp said. “With increased engagement comes a chance for sportsbooks to grow their customer base. A good promotional strategy set over the summer should start to pay off in September.”

Any person 21 years of age or older can place bets on sports. Betting is prohibited for youth sports. College sports betting is permitted, but the state prohibits betting on any games in which a Virginia-based college or university is playing.