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Sportsbooks in Virginia took the second-highest monthly total for any state in its first month of legal sports betting, after collecting almost $60m in wagers during the first 11 days of operation.

Virginia’s market launched with the biggest operators in the US, with FanDuel going live on January 21, and subsequently being joined by DraftKings, BetMGM and BetRivers in the following days. William Hill debuted in February, and more are expected soon.

“Like its neighbour in Tennessee, Virginia’s online-only market had some advantages that helped fuel such a successful launch,” stated Jessica Welman, analyst for PlayVirginia.com

“Debuting ahead of the NFL’s conference championship games and the Super Bowl ensured there would be heavy interest from bettors. In addition, launching with top-flight sportsbook operators in place to serve a market with years of pent-up demand is a recipe for success.”

Virginia sportsbooks generated $58.9m, in handle in January, with only neighbouring Tennessee, which drew $131.4m in bets in the 30 days after launching on November 1, generating more during its debut month, though Virginia topped Tennessee’ per-day total. 

Michigan, which opened retail sports betting in 2020, collected $150.8m in January after launching online sports betting for the first time on the 21st of the month.

Virginia’s sportsbooks took $3.6m in gross gaming revenue on January’s bets, however, with an expectedly heavy early promotional push, three of the four sportsbooks lost money. That put combined adjusted gaming revenue at a $3.2m loss.

The promotional credits dampened the state’s take, which was $39,710 and includes a $38,718 infusion in the state’s general fund.

“The relatively small injection in tax dollars is eye-catching, but significant promotional expenses are a given in a market’s first few days,” commented Dustin Gouker, analyst for PlayVirginia.com

“We saw the very same dynamic play out in the first days of Michigan’s online market, as well. The bottom line is that Virginia’s market is off to a good start, with significant interest from bettors across the state. That will certainly pay off for the state in coming months.”

PlayVirginia asserts that the market is capable of generating more than $5bn in annual wagers, $400m in annual operator revenue, and $60m in annual state taxes at maturity.

“This was a great start for Virginia, but it’s important to remember that this is just the first few days of the market,” Welman added. “More operators will launch in Virginia and the market should quickly evolve. But in just a few days, it’s clear that Virginia is on its way to becoming one of just a handful of major US markets once it reaches maturity.”