Virginia launched its regulated sports betting market in January 2021 and is already showing strong potential to outpace neighbouring state Tennessee in terms of reaching the $1 billion mark in betting revenues.
Figures for January to April show Virginians placed a total of $865.1 million in online sports bets, compared to the $765.9 million wagered by punters in Tennessee during the same period.
Sports betting went live in Tennessee in November 2020, about two months ahead of Virginia’s online wagering launch. The Volunteer State recorded a total of $699.9 million during its four months of operations, and eventually surpassed the $1 billion mark in April.
But Virginia is poised to achieve a similar milestone much quicker, based on latest figures released by the Virginia Lottery Board, which oversees the state’s sports betting market.
As of April, Virginia’s total sports bets sit at $865.1 million, representing its four months of operations. Virginians only need to wager less than $150 million in May in order to reach the $1 billion mark, which means the state’s sports betting market could very well go past that mark on its fifth month of operations.
So far, Virginia has recorded the highest monthly figures in March, accepting a total of $304 million in sports bets, but the numbers declined by around 28% in April, as local punters only wagered $236.4 million. Figures are much lower in Tennessee though, with the state recording a total of $172.4 million in sports bets on the same month.
Virginia fared better during the first four months of the year, and is on course to cross the $1 billion mark in May.
Since its launch in January, seven online sportsbooks have gone live in the state, including FanDuel, DraftKings, BetRivers, BetMGM, William Hill, WynnBET and Unibet. The same number of operators cater to customers in Tennessee, and both states currently don’t have any retail locations.
Virginia Has Better Regulatory Framework
According to Jessica Welman, analyst for the PlayUSA.com network, both Virginia and Tennessee have adopted a pretty similar approach when they launched their respective regulated sports betting markets. Their main focus is online betting, and both implemented a tax system that does not inhibit operators, despite enforcing higher rates.
Both markets enjoyed rapid growth just within a few months of operations mainly because they are home to a huge number of college sports fans who support sports betting. But Virginia has a stronger regulatory framework compared to Tennessee, and this will lead to more growth for the state in the long term.