On Line Wagering Handle On Horse Racing Remains Robust Through April

Advance Deposit Wagering (ADW) on horse races continues to produce strong numbers in Virginia as Covid restrictions loosen. Through the first four months of 2021, handle is up nearly $11 million, or 34%, over the same time period in 2020.

A total of $42,350,552 in bets was placed by Virginia residents through April via four on line betting licensed providers — TVG, Xpressbet, Twinspires and NYRABets — versus $31,527,629 last year.

Medina Spirit (inside) in deep stretch en route to a Kentucky Derby victory May 1. May’s handle figures should remain strong since the Derby and Preakness are both held then.

TVG led the way with a handle of $23,051,978 compared with $16,744,374 a year prior, good for a 37.7% increase. Twinspires followed with $11,997,896 versus $9,025,538 in 2020, a 33% business bump. Xpressbet handled $5,485,795, a 20% gain over last year’s $4,540,037 while NYRABets, newest of the four, took wagers of $1,814,882 in but had the biggest percent gain over 2020 at 49%. Their four month handle last year was $1,217,678.

The month of April itself was the biggest so far. $11,617,750 was wagered, one million dollars more than bettors played in both January and March.

Interestingly, handle on thoroughbreds through April was up 29% while harness handle was up 90%. Last year at this time, harness racing was still shuttered for the most part during the early stages of Covid so the business increase was not completely unexpected. 

Bets are accepted on live horse races at Buckets Bar & Grill in Chesapeake.

Through April, over $11 million in live simulcast racing bets were placed at three VA-Horseplay OTBs and at five Rosie’s Gaming Emporiums. The OTB at Buckets Bar & Grill in Chesapeake topped the locations with a handle of $2,609,834. Breakers Sports Grille in Henrico was next with $2,285,666. Tops among the Rosie’s sites was the Hampton location, which handled $1,544,715.

Things should remain positive looking forward since May, when the Kentucky Derby and Preakness are both contested, is traditionally one of the biggest handle-generating months. 

Rosie’s sites are mainly comprised of Historical Horse Racing (HHR) terminals and through April, the five sites generated $850,299,551 in handle, led by the Richmond location with $292,518,392. Hampton was next with $265,555,523 followed by Colonial Downs in New Kent with $151,277,496.

The higher HHR handle translates into more money for Virginia’s racing and breeding programs. In March, the Virginia Equine Alliance (VEA) received its first revenue sharing contribution of over $1 million from play at Rosie’s. In April, the contribution rose to $1,327,000.