Biggest Virginia Sportsbooks So Far: FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM Dominate

Written By Dann Stupp on October 27, 2021
FanDuel Virginia is state's biggest sportsbook.

Through the first eight months of sports betting, the list of biggest Virginia sportsbooks contains some familiar names.

During a Wednesday, Oct. 27 Virginia Lottery Board meeting, officials gave the latest figures since the launch of legal sports betting on Jan. 21.

Currently, nine sports betting operators are live in the commonwealth. But which are the biggest Virginia sportsbooks?

As it turns out, being first-to-market gave FanDuel a huge boost.

Biggest Virginia sportsbooks: FanDuel on top

According to Gina M. Smith, the Virginia Lottery’s deputy director of gaming compliance, FanDuel still handles nearly half of all wagers placed in the commonwealth.

During her VA Lottery Board presentation, Smith broke down each VA sportsbook by its overall betting volume (“handle“) from January through September of this year.

FanDuel launched in late January. Due to its partnership with the Washington Football Team, which is headquartered in Virginia, FanDuel got the greenlight to launch first.

And that head start has paid off handsomely. FanDuel has handled 45.4% of the approximately $1.9 billion in sports wagers in Virginia.

“Not much has changed honestly since launch,” Lee said. “FanDuel is still in the lead.”

And though eight other sportsbooks are now operational in Old Dominion, only DraftKings (26.1%) and BetMGM (17.9%) have earned a market share in double digits. DraftKings and BetMGM were the second and third operators to launch in Virginia, both on Jan. 24.

Here’s the full breakdown, showing the biggest Virginia sportsbooks from January-September 2021:

Sportsbook Market share
FanDuel 45.4%
DraftKings 26.1%
BetMGM 17.9%
Caesars 7.6%
BetRivers 1.1%
Barstool 1.0%
WynnBET 0.5%
Unibet 0.4%
Golden Nugget 0.0%

What are Virginia sports bettors wagering on?

We know where Virginia sports bettors are placing their wagers. We also now know what they’re betting on.

During the VA Lottery Board meeting, Smith gave a breakdown of wagering by sport and type.

As a reminder, Virginia sports betting launched in time for the NFL conference championships and Super Bowl back in January. However, the Virginia sports betting numbers don’t yet include a full NFL and college football season.

Therefore, this breakdown of Virginia sports betting by sport will likely change substantially by early next year. In other words, don’t expect NBA/pro basketball betting (22.9%) to maintain its top spot.

“Maybe by the time we meet next time, since we’ll be into our first full football season, it’ll be interesting to see how our market share shifts,” Lee said. “But right now, basketball is still in the lead.”

Here’s the full breakdown:

Sport Portion of handle
Pro basketball 22.9%
Parlays 17.8%
Baseball 14.7%
Tennis 11.1%
Football 9.7%
College basketball 7.2%
Soccer 6.0%
Hockey 3.6%
Golf 2.2%
Boxing 0.7%
MMA 0.7%
Olympics 0.7%
Motorsports 0.3%
Other 2.4%

Biggest Virginia sportsbooks also spend mightily

So, how does a sports betting operator become one of the biggest Virginia sportsbooks?

As we saw above, earlier launches definitely played to the favor of FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetMGM.

However, those operators are also far outpacing their competitors when it comes to promotional spending.

Virginia has a reason to pay special attention to each operator’s marketing spend. After all, VA sportsbooks pay taxes on adjusted gaming revenue (AGR), not gross gaming revenue (GGR). AGR factors in deductions including promotional dollars given out in the form of deposit bonuses and free bets.

Sportsbook Percentage of promotional spend
FanDuel 36%
DraftKings 23%
BetMGM 21%
Caears 14%
Barstool 2%
BetRivers 2%
Unibet 1%
WynnBET 1%
Golden Nugget 0%

The three biggest Virginia sportsbooks are also the biggest spenders when it comes to marketing and promos. However, keep an eye on Caesars (formerly William Hill). The rebranded and retooled sportsbook has amped up its marketing in Virginia in recent months. And with a steady stream of clever promotions, it could soon be nipping at the heels of FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetMGM.

Photo by Play Virginia / Dann Stupp
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Dann Stupp

Dann Stupp is a longtime sports journalist who’s written and edited for The Athletic, USA Today, ESPN, and other outlets. He lives in Lexington, Virginia.

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