A downturn in April may have been expected for West Virginia online gambling, but it didn’t make things easier to digest.
Both verticals showed monthly declines from similar time frames last month, according to the West Virginia Lottery’s weekly reporting system. Online casino gaming handle and revenue fell less than sports betting, whose seasonal nature led to a double-digit drop in handle and an even worse revenue plunge.
Weekly reporting periods end each Sunday and consist of data starting from the previous Monday. As such, we’ll be comparing 28-day periods from each month.
Online casino growth remains strong despite relative slide
The seven West Virginia online casinos combined to accept $326.8 million in wagers between April 2 and 29, a 4.8% decline from the previous four weeks (March 5 to April 1). Casinos returned $314.6 million to bettors, generating $12.1 million in revenue (-4.5% month over month).
If you zoom out, however, the story changes for the better. Year-over-year handle grew 62.8% from $210.9 million in April 2022, and revenue grew by 58.2% from $8 million.
These numbers aren’t a coincidence, either. April marks seven consecutive months where the iGaming handle has topped $300 million.
- April: $326.8 million
- March: $343.3 million
- February: $367.6 million (state record)
- January: $320.5 million
- December: $308.2 million
- November: $311.2 million
- October: $317.1 million
More room for growth exists, too. Hacksaw Gaming is expected to become the eighth West Virginia online sports betting operator later this year.
Charles Town edges Greenbrier in total win
Three of West Virginia’s land-based casinos have multiple iGaming operators under their umbrellas. Of the three, Hollywood Charles Town (DraftKings Casino WV and PointsBet Casino WV) generated the most revenue ($5.2 million; +1.6% MoM).
Charles Town edged out The Greenbrier (BetMGM Sportsbook WV and FanDuel Casino WV) by less than $100K ($5.1 million; -10.1% MoM). It did this despite taking in $33.3 million less in wagers. Charles Town’s handle was $126.5 million (-13.2% MoM), and The Greenbrier’s was $159.7 million (+2.5% MoM).
Mountaineer (BetRivers WV and Caesars Casino WV) finished a distant third with a handle of $40.6 million (-0.6% MoM) and $1.7 million in revenue (-3.8% MoM).
Sports betting shows seasonal vulnerability
We are officially into the sports betting dead zone and will stay here until football returns in September.
West Virginia sports betting handle totaled around $38.5 million in April, with sportsbooks returning $35.6 million. This resulted in a paltry 7.5% hold, good for $2.8 million in revenue.
Numbers are down compared to March, when the NCAA basketball tournament men’s Final Four matchups took place on March 31. This rings true regardless of which previous period we compare it to.
As reported last month, Feb. 26 through March 26 brought a $43.1 million handle, with $38.8 million returned (9.9% hold). Total revenue was $4.2 million.
Believe it or not, the period from a week later (March 5 through April 1) actually showed lower totals. During those four weeks, sportsbooks handled $40.6 million and returned $36.4 million (10.3% hold), resulting in $3.6 million in revenue.
Compared to the first time period, handle is down 10.7%, and revenue is down 33%. A week later, those numbers are -6.2% and -23%, respectively.
One saving grace: April’s sports betting handle increased 7.4% YoY from $35.9 million, marking the first time in 2023 with YoY improvement. Unfortunately, April 2022’s $3.1 million in revenue still outperformed last month due to its low hold percentage.
Two licensees dominate sports betting
All five WV retail casino licensees may have sportsbook partnerships, but two account for almost all the action. In April, Charles Town and The Greenbrier raised their market share to a combined 93% of sports wagers in the state.
Charles Town reclaimed the top spot in handle after falling behind The Greenbrier in March for the first time in seven months. Charles Town’s $20.1 million handle grew by 5.2%, while The Greenbrier’s $15.7 million handle represented a 21% MoM decline.
However, The Greenbrier returned just $13.9 million to bettors, earning it $1.8 million in revenue for the month. This was nearly double Charles Town’s $928K in revenue, thanks to $19.1 million in betting wins.
The three remaining casinos were hit even harder.
- Mountaineer: $1.8 million handle (-27.7% MoM); $43K in revenue (-77.9% MoM)
- Mardi Gras: $432K handle (-48.2% MoM); $12K in revenue (-89.8% MoM)
- Wheeling: $413K handle (-48.1% MoM); $13K in revenue (-81.2% MoM)