It has been quite a March Madness hangover for top West Virginia sportsbooks, which saw both handle and revenue drop by half in April.
After a huge March buoyed by the NCAA Basketball Tournament, books came down to earth in West Virginia for April. Total sports betting handle in West Virginia dropped 47.7% from the month before, while mobile sports betting handle fell 47.9% and sports betting revenue plummeted 59.2%, according to figures released by the West Virginia Lottery Commission.
The Mountain State reports sports betting figures weekly; the April reporting period ran four weeks, from April 4 to May 1. The March reporting period was five weeks. Also, it's not unusual for states to see a big sports betting increase during March Madness — one of the most-bet events of the year — and a drop in April.
That's just what happened in West Virginia, which experienced a March where sports betting revenue increased 250% from February, and handle increased 32.7%.
Big Improvements From 2020
The state's April numbers were predictably more subdued. Total sports betting handle of $26,497,738 was down from $50,703,011 in March, while mobile handle dropped to $19,830,050 from $38,085,977. Sportsbook revenue fell to $1,952,028 in April from $4,781,439 in March, and the share of state taxes dipped to $165,922 from $406,422 over that same span.
West Virginia's April numbers represented a vast improvement from the year before, when casinos were closed from mid March through early June as West Virginia battled the coronavirus pandemic. Total handle for April 2021 was up 793.6% from the $2,965,302 bet in April 2020, all of which was on mobile – leading to a 568.7% increase in that category. Revenue was also up 159% from the $155,058 collected last April.
Among the five brick-and-mortar casinos in West Virginia, The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs led the way in April with $12.233 million in total sportsbook handle, followed by Hollywood Casino at Charles Town with $10.771 million and Mountaineer Park Casino in New Cumberland at $2.201 million. Charles Town was the only West Virginia sportsbook to exceed $1 million in April revenue, collecting $1.217 million.
West Virginia iGaming Numbers Also Tumble
West Virginia iGaming also saw decreases in April. The handle of $118,392,548 was down 22.4% from the $152,548,086 recorded in March, while revenue of $3,780,504 was down 24.3% from the $4,995,804 recorded in the previous month.
But iGaming in West Virginia received a boost in early May, when The Greenbrier partnered with FanDuel's online app to become the fourth online casino option available to bettors in the state. The app, which features slots, blackjack, roulette and other games, is available via the Apple or Android stores for casino players in West Virginia or those visiting the state. The app is also live in New Jersey, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
The Greenbrier partnership follows the April entry of Rush Street Interactive, which launched a West Virginia online casino as BetRivers.com. Offered in partnership with Mountaineer Park, the BetRivers online casino claims the distinction as the only one in West Virginia offering free bingo games in which customers can try to win prizes. Rush Street also has online gaming offerings in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Michigan.
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