FILE - Sports betting, gambling

The football odds betting board at a Las Vegas casino sportsbook.

(The Center Square) – Virginians are flocking to the new sports betting scene in large numbers shortly after the practice became legal less than two months ago, according to PlayVirginia, which provides analysis on the gaming industry.

Sportsbooks collected nearly $60,000 in wagers in the first 11 days the industry could operate legally. The sports betting market opened Jan. 21 and it closed out its first month with the second highest monthly total for any state’s first month of legal sports gambling.

According to a news release, only Tennessee collected more money in wagers in the month of its sports betting debut, but the state legalized gambling on Nov. 1, meaning it had 30 days to reach its $131.4 million worth of bets. Virginia had a higher per-day total.

“Like its neighbor in Tennessee, Virginia’s online-only market had some advantages that helped fuel such a successful launch,” Jessica Welman, an analyst for PlayVirginia said in a statement. "Debuting ahead of the NFL’s conference championship games and the Super Bowl ensured there would be heavy interest from bettors. In addition, launching with top-flight sportsbook operators in place to serve a market with years of pent-up demand is a recipe for success.”

Sportsbooks in the commonwealth won $3.6 million in gross gaming revenues on January’s bets, but ultimately lost about $3.2 million in adjusted gaming revenue on the month due to heavy promotional pushes. The state took in nearly $40,000 in revenue from the industry during the month.

“This was a great start for Virginia, but it’s important to remember that this is just the first few days of the market,” Welman said. “More operators will launch in Virginia and the market should quickly evolve. But in just a few days, it’s clear that Virginia is on its way to becoming one of just a handful of major U.S. markets once it reaches maturity.”

Staff Reporter

Tyler Arnold reports on Virginia and West Virginia for The Center Square. He previously worked for the Cause of Action Institute and has been published in Business Insider, USA TODAY College, National Review Online and the Washington Free Beacon.