Better than expected: that’s how lottery officials describe the cash flow from sports betting in Virginia.
The Commonwealth became the fastest state in the nation to reach $ 1 billion in wagers when sports betting became legal in Virginia in 2021. Sports betting company FanDuel told us it was the most successful launch to date, with more users on the first weekend than any state before it.
Now, we’re learning the momentum hasn’t slowed down a bit; Virginia is now bringing in more tax revenue from sports bets than was originally predicted four years ago.
The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission was enlisted back in 2020 to carry out a gaming study in Virginia. It found Virginia could generate $55 million in annual tax revenue from sports wagering once the industry was fully formed in the state.
By 2022, the tax revenue had already jumped to $27 million, just one year in.
According to Virginia Lottery figures presented this past week, we’ve more than doubled that number in 2023 to the tune of $67 million. The total amount of wagers also grew significantly in the last year, up nearly $1 billion from 2022.
Oftentimes, with more gambling comes more gambling problems for many bettors, but lawmakers planned ahead to combat the issue.
In 2023, $2.6 million was set aside for addiction resources, with most of the money going to local community service boards that already handle similar issues.
At the meeting last week, Virginia’s behavioral health commissioner said they believe 2% of the state’s population is affected by gambling problems.