RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — It’s been just over a year since sports betting launched in Virginia, with gambling company FanDuel opening to betters in the commonwealth on Jan. 21, 2021.
Back in 2020, Del. Mark Sickles (D-43) told 8News that legalizing the practice would allow the state to collect taxes on the billion-dollar industry. Upon its launch, a 15% tax was placed on sports betting activity in Virginia, based on each permit holder’s adjusted gross revenue.
Virginia Lottery has not yet released sports betting data for the month of January 2022.
However, according to data released on Feb. 1, 2022, residents throughout the commonwealth wagered $3,221,790,714 from Jan. 21, 2021 to Dec. 31, 2021.
There are several approved operators with sportsbooks in the commonwealth, including FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM. According to Virginia Lottery’s data, all approved operators in the state brought in $130,867,157 through Dec. 31, 2021.
Of the permit holders’ adjusted gross revenue, which is calculated by subtracting the amount paid out in winnings and promotions, data shows that the Commonwealth of Virginia received $20,340,022.21.
Del. Tommy Wright (R-61) told 8News prior to the legalization of sports betting in the commonwealth that he was concerned about the impacts of gambling and addiction in Virginia.
State law required 97.5% of the tax on gambling companies’ adjusted gross revenue to be deposited in the state’s General Fund, and 2.5% to be deposited into the Problem Gambling Treatment and Support Fund administered by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health.
Richmond resident Chris Macey said his first introduction to online sports betting was last February. He placed a wager on Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV.
“I’m kind of a low-stakes gambler, so I’d say about 50 bucks is the most I’ve ever placed,” he said. “It’s just fun. It just adds a little edge to playing, and stuff like that — well, to watching the games.”
According to the Virginia Lottery, October 2021 saw the highest amount of wagering since the inception of sports betting in the commonwealth. But December 2021 was a close second, coming in at slightly less than $1 million behind that record-setting month.
“In the beginning, it was really exciting, and then, it kind of plateaued,” Macey said. “Everywhere I looked was a new sportsbook opening. So then it kind of took a dip. But now, it’s picking back up again, I guess because the Super Bowl’s coming and stuff like that.”
Some law makers in the commonwealth are now looking at expanding sports betting, allowing wagers to be placed on Virginia’s college sports. Under current legislation, betting other than proposition betting is allowed on all college sports, except for those in the commonwealth. On Jan. 12, 2022, Del. Schuyler VanValkenburg (D-72) introduced the bill to change that. It is currently in subcommittee in the House of Delegates.