Gambling revenues continue to climb in Virginia

Published: Sep. 1, 2023 at 7:48 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - The last few years have brought a major expansion of gambling in Virginia, and the different forms of wagering continue to post eye-popping numbers.

Since 2019, Virginia has added historical horse racing machines, sports betting and more recently full service casinos. Along with the expansion of gambling options, the state has seen explosive growth. Take sports betting, for example.

In July alone, Virginians wagered more than $293 million with the 14 approved sports betting operators now active in the state. And that represents an increase of more than 10% over the same period a year ago.

Andrew Champagne tracks gaming as the content manager for the Play Virginia website.

“Even though the July numbers might look a little bit smaller when you compare it to January, February and March, that’s a significant step forward for any market when you’re talking about a bump of 10% in the handle and the revenue reflected upon that,” Champagne said.

He said it will be interesting to see what happens in Virginia after North Carolina introduces sports betting early next year.

He will also be watching the continuing expansion of casino gambling in Virginia, as permanent casinos open in Bristol and Danville, and other casinos come online.

“When you look at the casino industry that’s been growing, the Danville casino opened its doors and instantly became a huge revenue generator,” Champagne said. “Once Norfolk’s casino winds up getting past all of the red tape and winds up getting built, I see that as a big revenue generator as well. And then you’ve got the election in Richmond coming up in November to where voters can potentially approve a casino in the state capitol.”

One form of gaming that remains in limbo - the skill games that many convenience stores, truck stops and other businesses host across the state. A court case challenging the state’s ban on skill games could decide their future when it goes to trial in December.