- West Virginia handled only $1.9 million in April sports wagers and collected $124,000 in revenue—a 6.54% hold rate.
- These figures were drastic reductions from the pre-COVID-19 handle and revenue figures.
- While West Virginia is beginning to reopen, the sports betting industry won’t be able to begin fully recovering until sports resume as normal.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – To nobody’s surprise, West Virginia’s licensed sportsbooks did very little business in April. With no brick-and-mortar casinos open and few global sports to bet on, online betting platforms were only able to generate a small amount of revenue.
West Virginia handled just $1.9 million in April wagers, and collected only $124,000 in sports betting revenue —a hold percentage of 6.54%.
The total handle represented an 83.1% decrease from March, and a 94.5% decrease from the average monthly handle in January and February 2020. West Virginia sports betting revenues have been in freefall as well, and in April they dropped 47.1% from March and 91.8% from pre-Coronavirus months.
West Virginia’s hold percentage was a marked increase over the 1.6% posted in March, but it simply didn’t matter with so few bets being placed.
West Virginia forced all in-state casinos to suspend retail operations on March 18, and only two legal sports betting casinos—the Greenbrier and the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town—operate an online sportsbook.
Betting action at the Greenbrier increased each week, while the Hollywood Casino experienced fairly steady betting action throughout the month.
Recovery Of West Virginia Sports Betting Industry
West Virginia is already beginning to reopen major businesses, including casinos, with a plan unfortunately dubbed “West Virginia Strong – The Comeback”.
The reopening of casinos should help the sports betting industry rebound slightly, but the more pressing problem is that there are almost no major sporting events to bet on right now because of COVID-19.
All four major American professional sports leagues that would normally be playing their season right now—the NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS— have suspended play indefinitely. Until sports resume, even the reopening of casinos won’t save depressed revenues.
While some states are already beginning to reopen, major sports organizations likely won’t be able to safely resume play for at least several more months. Though Bundesliga is on the return, all it will take is only one positive test to shut it down once again.
The only surefire step towards returning to normal would be the development and distribution of a vaccine, but that could be over a year away. Instead, teams, leagues, sportsbooks, and bettors will all just need to find ways to adapt to COVID-19.
Until then, expect to see the West Virginia sports betting revenue numbers continue to scrape rock bottom.
With a dual background in English and sports performance and business analytics, Carter aims to write stories that both engage and inform the reader. He prides himself on his ability to interweave empirical data and traditional narrative storytelling. When he isn’t keeping readers up to date on the latest sports betting legal news, he’s banging his head against a wall regretting his decision to be a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan.