- West Virginia’s sports betting handle for January was $50.7 million.
- Casinos are only allowed to operate at 50% capacity in West Virginia due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- West Virginia’s sports betting handle had grown in three straight months before the January decline.
CHARLESTON, W.V. – The month of January slowed the roll of sports betting and iGaming in West Virginia as revenue declined industry-wide.
Before January, West Virginia reported sports betting handle had increased in each of the previous four months, but the $50.7 million handle was nearly $20 million less than December’s handle of $70.1 million.
December 2020 Sports Betting Handle and Revenue
- Handle: $70.1 million
- Revenue: $6.4 million
January 2021 Sports Betting Handle and Revenue
- Handle: $50.7 million
- Revenue: 3.9 million
What’s concerning for West Virginia sportsbooks is that their dip in both the handle and revenue has hit hardest in the last two weeks. The state's retail sports betting handle wasn’t higher than $4 million for the first time since September. Not even the NFL playoffs could help push West Virginia’s sports betting handle higher.
Even mobile betting in West Virginia wasn’t spared as the $15.4 million handle in the last two weeks of January was the lowest the state had in a two-week span seen since November.
iGaming which is another major moneymaker in West Virginia’s gambling economy also saw its handle shrink to start 2021. The $99.1 million iGaming handle was a sharp decline from December’s $109 million but wasn’t as drastic as the fall in revenue from sports betting for the state.
West Virginia iGaming Revenue By Month
- December 2020: $3.1 million
- January 2021: $2.8 million
The 50% Capacity limits on casinos statewide due to the COVID-19 pandemic are one of the driving factors leading to a decline in the handle and revenue for West Virginia. However, the pandemic along with those same capacity limits didn’t stop the Mountaineer State from breaking its sports betting handle and revenue records before.
One-way West Virginia could improve its revenue and sports betting handle is to allow more people into their casinos. With the new CDC guidelines casinos in West Virginia might be able to safely operate at 60-75% of their capacity.
Another option for West Virginia lawmakers to ponder would be to allow another casino in the state to open as top gambling brands like DraftKings and BetMGM have already claimed their stake in the market. Bringing in another major brand would bring even more competition to the market while providing residents with another viable way to gamble online.
Betting and gambling in West Virginia may have hit a minor rough patch but don’t expect the slump to last long especially as the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament and Super Bowl betting numbers should breathe some life into the state's handle and revenue for 2021.