Although West Virginia sportsbooks have seen a rise in wagers in the last few weeks, the state’s overall handle remains just fractions of where it could be.
The sports betting revenue report for the month of May was much improved compared to April. However, both handle and revenue figures are much lower than would normally be.
The nationwide precautions taken to slow the spread of COVID-19 have taken their toll on sports betting operators. The sports stoppage, along with the closure of WV casinos, have hindered the Mountain State’s betting production.
This report will include a look at sports betting activity from May 9-30.
For most of the month of May, sportsbooks accepted just under $5 million in bets. In the four weeks prior, the overall handle totaled just over $2.5 million.
Of course all of these wagers were placed using the state’s three online sports betting apps:
Three casinos do not have a mobile platform, meaning their only source of sports betting revenue comes from their retail book. As a result, they haven’t seen any action since mid-March. These include:
Even though online sportsbooks were actively taking bets, there weren’t many markets available to wager on. For a while, the most enticing betting options involved Belarus soccer and Moscow table tennis.
Part of what helped the May figures is that a few more popular sports returned. There have been several UFC events, some NASCAR racing, special golf outings, KBO baseball and Bundesliga soccer.
Let’s take a deeper look at May sports betting and how the state might fare going forward.
WV sports betting handle
While handle has substantially improved from a month ago, it is obviously much lower than it was a year ago and before sports stopped.
Handle for the month totaled $4,971,927.96. In May 2019, sportsbooks accepted $8,667,939.15 in bets. This is a decrease of 43% from a year-over-year basis.
What was once a weekly handle figure, is now monthly. Sportsbooks took in at least $8 million in bets for 10 straight weeks before the shutdown.
In the most recent four full weeks prior to the reduction of sports, books took in more than $37 million in wagers. Since there was only online betting in May, all wagers came through either Hollywood Casino or The Greenbrier’s mobile apps.
Over the course of the month, Hollywood outperformed The Greenbrier even though it features just one online sportsbook.
Hollywood and DraftKings accepted over $3.1 million during the four weeks. Its handle exceeded $700,000 every week of the month.
The week of May 9 was the slowest, with a handle around $710,000. DraftKings’ best week nearly topped $900,000 for May 23. The Greenbrier didn’t do as well. Its mobile apps, FanDuel and BetMGM, managed only around $1.9 million in handle.
On the bright side, they have seen bets increase in each of the last four weeks. Their combined handle for the week of May 30 was over $580,000.
It is tough to say how much money sportsbooks missed out on during this difficult time, but suffice it to say that the amount is significant. The first step to getting back on track has happened – casinos opened. Now, we just need sports to come back.
WV sports betting revenue
Revenue figures are much more volatile than betting handle, however, they haven’t been as high as they can be, either.
In May, WV sportsbooks earned $541,187.54. This is 12% less than in the same month a year ago when books generated $615,153.06 in revenue.
It’s obviously hard to speculate on how much sportsbooks could have made during this slow period. Typically, when more money is wagered, it usually translates to bigger revenue figures, though.
Similar to handle, WV’s May revenue is much better than last month, but nowhere near where it used to be.
While sportsbooks earned around just $115,000 in the four weeks leading up to May, they made nearly $3 million in the last month with a regular sports schedule.
Even though sportsbooks earned at least six figures in each week of May, the highest total is around $165,000. Before the stoppage, the worst showing for revenue in that period was during the week of Feb. 15, when books earned almost $280,000.
When looking at how the revenue broke down this month, it was a much more even split than with handle.
Hollywood Casino led the way with over $280,000, compared to The Greenbrier, which was around $260,000. Both sportsbooks stayed in the black all four weeks.
Even though more betting doesn’t necessarily translate to more revenue, it usually helps. Now that retail sportsbooks are starting to open back up and more sports are returning to the playing field, revenue figures should continue to climb.
Once all of the major American sports leagues like the NBA and NHL are back, there’s no reason that betting figures can’t be where they were in early March.
Revenue for WV sports betting by operator since launch
|Licensee||Total Handle||Online Handle||Retail/Mixed Handle*||Total Revenue||Online Revenue||Retail Revenue||State Tax (10%)|
*Reporting separated online and retail handle beginning with the week ending Aug. 31, 2019.
On the board at WV sportsbooks
Sportsbooks have more options now than they have in months. There are also plenty of other betting markets that are just about ready to make their return.
Among those include the PGA Tour and multiple European soccer leagues. Spain’s La Liga is back on June 11, with the English Premier League set for June 17. Italy’s Serie A also plans to return on June 20.
Since this weekend marks the first PGA Tour event in quite some time, many of the big-name players are participating. According to DraftKings, here are the current odds to win this week’s Charles Schwab Challenge:
- Rory McIlroy +850
- Jon Rahm +1150
- Justin Thomas +1650
- Webb Simpson +2200
- Bryson Dechambeau +2500
- Brooks Koepka +2500
- Dustin Johnson +3000
- Patrick Reed +3000
- Xander Schauffele +3000
- Rickie Fowler +3500
- Scottie Scheffler +3500
- Sungjae Im +3500