West Virginia Sports Betting: After A Year Of Setbacks, March Signals Handle Boost 

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West Virginia is attempting to end a prolonged losing streak. 

After suffering a yearly decline in sports betting, the Mountain State’s industry officials are pointing to March’s revenue as a point of optimism. 

Small steps, right?

March Madness Action Boosts West Virginia’s Handle 

West Virginia experienced a 30 percent drop in sports betting handle last March, when compared to the same month in 2022. But, at least, state officials saw an 8.3 percent increase from February. The state compiled $43.1 million in March and $39.7 million in February. But those figures lag in comparison to the $61.4 million in reported online and retail sales the previous March, according to  

State officials gleaned some positive nuggets from the largely disappointing news for the state’s sports betting operators. March’s 9.8 percent hold represented the highest first-quarter take since 2018, the first year the industry was legalized. 

March Madness action nearly equaled January’s $44.7 million handle, which was aided by several big football games. The state enacts a 10 percent tax rate. 

Mobile Sports Wagers Help Industry Rally  

Mobile sports betting in West Virginia helped boost the industry during a down year. Retail sportsbooks mostly struggled during the previous two months, but rallied in March. 

Charles Town reportedly accepted $2.8 million in bets, which aided the retail sector’s bounce-back effort. That amount was nearly half of the state’s combined brick-and-mortar operations, which produced $4.8 million. The state’s five casinos cashed in approximately $415,000 in March revenue and none reportedly faced a deficit. The previous month the five institutions combined to lose nearly $500,000, reported.  

After nearly a year of setbacks, West Virginia bettors seek more wins.

Jeff Hawkins is an award-winning sportswriter with more than four decades in the industry (print and digital media). A freelance writer/stay-at-home dad since 2008, Hawkins started his career with newspaper stints in Michigan, North Carolina, Florida, Upstate New York and Illinois, where he earned the 2004 APSE first-place award for column writing (under 40,000 circulation). As a beat writer, he covered NASCAR Winston Cup events at NHIS (1999-2003), the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks (2003-06) and the NFL's Carolina Panthers (2011-12). Hawkins penned four youth sports books, including a Michael Jordan biography. Hawkins' main hobbies include mountain bike riding, 5k trail runs at the Whitewater Center in Charlotte, N.C., and live music.

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