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Virginia hits $2 billion in sports wagers, expects to license five additional companies soon
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Virginia hits $2 billion in sports wagers, expects to license five additional companies soon

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Man betting on sports with smartphone

The Virginia Lottery has licensed 10 companies to take sports bets in the state, and an additional five are expected be entering the market soon.

Those extra slots were the result of a General Assembly action in the spring, and the lottery said during its board meeting this week that it was currently vetting applicants for those spots.

Sports betting has already proved wildly popular in the state, and September ended with the state having recorded $1.965 billion in wagers since legal sports wagering started in January, meaning the state crossed the $2 billion mark sometime in early October.

Market share has remained fairly steady during that time, with FanDuel continuing to dominate with 45% of gambling activity in the state.

DraftKings was second with 26% of the market, while BetMGM is third with 18%. Caesars is fourth with 8%, the only other operation with more than a sliver of the betting activity.

The state has collected $12.6 million in tax payments from operators, a number that is lower than it will be in future years because companies are allowed to write off promotional expenses as they enter the market and aim to attract new customers.

During the briefing, Gina Smith, the state lottery’s deputy director for gaming compliance, said there have been two compliance actions taken so far for operators who have not followed the state’s regulations.

In the first, an operator, whom the lottery did not name, failed to correctly screen bettors to make sure they were located in Virginia.

The second was an operator who didn’t properly vet new customers against a voluntary self-exclusion list that the lottery runs.

The first violation resulted in a $150,000 payment to Virginia’s Literary Fund. The second resulted in a $10,000 payment to the Literary Fund as well as $10,000 to the Virginia Council on Problem Gambling.

Smith said in her presentation that both violations were self-reported by the companies. The lottery also conducts periodic audits, but the companies were the first to alert the lottery of the violations.

mphillips@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6546

Twitter: @michaelpRTD

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