The West Virginia Mountaineers were upset in the second round of the men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament, but there was still a big winner in West Virginia in March: The state’s sportsbooks.
March sports betting revenue was up a healthy 250.5% from February, and up a robust 334.1% from March 2020, according to figures released by the West Virginia Lottery Commission. March revenue of $4.781 million far outdistanced the $1.364 million that top West Virginia sportsbooks collected in February, as well as the $1.101 million collected in March 2020 — during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic that shut down casinos nationwide.
The increase from February, when revenue dropped 66% from the month before, is likely largely due to March Madness, one of the most heavily bet sports events of the year. During the tournament’s first week, ending March 20, the state took in $10.3 million in handle, with $7.3 million of that coming via mobile wagering.
The Mountain State also releases sportsbook numbers weekly rather than monthly, so the state’s March report spanned from Feb. 28 through April 3, the day of the Final Four.
WV Sports Betting Handle & Revenue, March vs. February
|Total handle||Mobile handle||Revenue|
|Change||Up 32.7%||Up 40.6%||Up 250.5%|
Note: West Virginia reports numbers weekly rather than by calendar month. March represents Feb. 28 to April 3; February represents Jan. 31- Feb. 27.
West Virginia Mobile, Total Handle Increase
Sports betting handle in West Virginia also increased in March. The $50.703 million reported marked a 32.7% jump from the $38.212 million taken in during February, and a 244.8% leap from the $14.705 million from 12 months earlier. Gov. Jim Justice ordered the state’s casinos closed on March 18, 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic struck, and gaming facilities remained shut until early June.
The state’s March 2021 mobile sports betting handle of $38.085 million was a similar increase, up 40.6% from the $27.092 million taken in during the shorter February window (which spanned from Jan. 31-Feb. 27) and up 272.2% from the $10.232 million for March 2020. The March state share of taxes of $406,422 was also a distinct increase from the February number of $115,954.
Among the state’s five brick-and-mortar gaming facilities, Hollywood Casino at Charles Towne led the way with $20.844 million in combined retail and mobile sports book handle for March, along with $2.452 million in revenue. Mountaineer Casino in New Cumberland was second with $9.987 million in handle and $494,183 in revenue, followed closely by Mardi Gras Casino in Cross Lanes with $9.247 million in handle along with $80,228 in revenue.
West Virginia iGaming Numbers Also Up
On the iGaming front, the state reported a handle of $152.548 million, up 30.4% from the $117.004 million reported in February. Revenue for iGaming in March was $4.996 million up 44.9% from the $3.448 million reported in February. West Virginia is one of the few states that allows online wagering on not just sports betting, but also casino gambling and poker.
A new player in West Virginia iGaming, Rush Street Interactive of Chicago, launched its West Virginia online casino as BetRivers.com on Monday. The initiative will be in partnership with Century Casinos’ Mountaineer Park. In a press release, RSI said that the BetRivers online casino will be the only one in West Virginia that offers free bingo games that customers can play to try to win prizes. RSI also has online gaming offerings in neighboring Pennsylvania, plus New Jersey and Michigan.