Sports bettors in the Valley share their experience with wagering

AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — Sports betting has been live in Virginia for over a month now, and millions of dollars have already been wagered, bringing in thousands of dollars in tax revenue.

“As soon as I found out it was legal, I made a FanDuel, I made my mom a FanDuel, my stepdad a FanDuel and my girlfriend now has a FanDuel,” Travis Lewis said.

Logan Phelps also started betting on games soon after it became legal in Virginia on January 21, 2021.

“You can bet a dollar and win, I don’t know, $10. You can bet $10 and win more, and then it’s just more of like a treat kind thing. Put a little extra money in the bank from work,” Phelps said. “Obviously you’re going to lose some, but just like playing sports, it’s going to happen to other people, you’re going to have the losers come out on top.”

In just the first 11 days, Virginians wagered more than $58 million and won more than $55 million. Phelps added to that betting pool.

“Probably like $150, but I’ve netted more than that, and that’s all that matters to me, so as long as I’m in the green, that’s all I care about,” Phelps said.

While the risk can bring a reward, people who participate in sports betting say it’s about more than just the money.

“It just gives someone another thing to talk to their friends about, and it’s just another conversation or another opportunity to do something fun,” Lewis said.

“It adds to the little bit of trash talk, instead of just being like, I’m a Yankees fan and I’m a Redsocks fan… Going back and forth. It’s a little extra banter that kind of fun to have,” Phelps added.

And it allows you to become more involved with the game, even if you’re not a big sports fan.

“My stepbrother, he put some money on a soccer game, and I don’t think he’s ever watched a soccer game in his life, and I think he won a few hundred bucks,” Lewis said

There is a 15 percent tax on sports betting activities in the state, which generated over $39,000 from January 21 to January 31. The majority of that money going to the state’s general fund and 2.5 percent of it going toward problem gambling treatment and support.

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