After legalizing and implementing online lottery sales this year, Virginia has enjoyed a substantial increase in revenue brought in by online gaming. While traditionally the practice had been discouraged and fought against by land-based gaming organizations, the state decided 2020 would be the inaugural year for Virginia online lottery sales.
Sales stay strong throughout year
All told, the numbers jumped more than 35% in the 2020 fiscal year, to net a $181.5 million increase in overall sales. It’s important to keep in mind that the fiscal year began July 1. This means the increase was realized in only a few short months. Cutting online sales out of the equation, traditional retail lottery sales increased by 13% in September.
By the end of 2019’s fiscal year in June, Virginia’s lottery industry had weathered the COVID-19 effects that affected so many state lotteries. Total profits for the year reached $595 million.
Virginia Lottery Director Kevin Hall told the state Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee, “We were very pleased to see what we consider to be a solid performance.”
Gambling continues to expand in VA
Gov. Ralph Northam and the state’s general assembly granted electronic skill games a one-year reprieve after the state legislature voted to ban the games due to their perceived threat to lottery revenues. Those lottery revenues contribute directly to funding public education.
As the Virginia Lottery assumes responsibility for regulating both sports betting and casino gambling this year, Hall is bracing for the increase in activity, acknowledging, “This year, we’ll see probably the most dramatic expansion of lottery responsibilities since we were created 32 years ago.”
To meet the rising demands of compliance in the face of expanded gaming, the Virginia Lottery Commission has expanded operations in Richmond. The organization has formed a dedicated gaming compliance division to address the needs of mobile sports betting and casino gaming.
Last month, the lottery’s board of directors adopted sports betting regulations and began accepting license applications. Those licenses are expected to be awarded in February of 2021.