West Virginia’s gambling options have both expanded and contracted this year.
Online sports betting came to a halt on March 6, 2019, when BetLucky Sportsbook, the state’s only mobile sports betting app suspended operations.
Additionally, Mardi Gras Sportsbook and Wheeling Island Sportsbook also closed their betting windows.
While Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island will certainly relaunch sports betting in the near future, it is unlikely BetLucky will return to the Mountain State.
At the same time, Gov. Jim Justice allowed the bill legalizing online casinos to become law. It may be more than two years before players can make casino bets online, however.
Regardless of sports betting issues and the online casino wait, WV players still have gambling options in the state, including:
- Land-based sportsbooks
- Brick-and-Mortar casinos
- Traditional greyhound tracks
- First-rate horse racing
WV gambling fact sheet
|Is online sports betting legal in West Virginia?||Yes|
|Land-based sports wagering venues:||3 active; 2 suspended|
|Online sportsbooks:||0 active; 15 available licenses|
|Do sportsbooks need a local partner?||Yes|
|Tax on online sports wagering:||10% tax on operators|
Legal West Virginia sports betting
In May of 2018, a Supreme Court Ruling struck down a 1992 federal law that had effectively banned commercial sports betting in most states. This opened the door to sports betting anywhere in the nation and ended the sports betting monopoly held by Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
West Virginia began offering horse racing and greyhound racing in 1931. Legal bingo was introduced in 1980. Lotteries became the third type of legal wagering in 1984.
A decade later in 1994, the law evolved to allow the race tracks to install and offer video lottery. Video lottery machines were allowed to expand into bars in 2001.
Video lottery terminals, VLTs, are the same as other video gaming terminals and slot machines. The term VLT is named such because these machines are regulated by the state’s lottery commission.
Serious progress was made in the West Virginia gambling scene in 2008 when the state made it possible for legal table games.
Then last year, the legislature approved West Virginia sports betting in March ahead of the anticipated US Supreme Court decision. Once the decision came down, WV went to work on creating the regulations for legal sports betting in West Virginia.
West Virginia mobile sports betting
The law restricts West Virginia online sportsbooks and mobile betting licenses to brick and mortar gaming license holders.
To date, only two WV sportsbooks launched mobile betting:
- Mardi Gras Sportsbook
- Wheeling Island Sportsbook
Delaware North, the casinos’ owner, partnered with Miomni to launch BetLucky Sportsbook in Dec. 2018. A few short months later the app and the retail sportsbooks were forced to shut down.
Miomni had a contract dispute with a third-party service provider that forced the closure.
Currently, Delaware North is looking for a new sports betting partner so they can reopen the betting windows at its two casinos. BetLucky Sportsbook is unlikely to return to West Virginia.
There is speculation that DraftKings Sportsbook is close to launching its popular mobile sports betting app in the Mountain State.
And don’t rule out BetStars, an Australian bookmaker established just over a decade ago. It is an increasingly popular choice because of its partnership with the global online poker brand, PokerStars.
West Virginia sports betting bonuses
The new and competitive sportsbook world of West Virginia is set to be a player’s market. With everyone jockeying for the legal gambling dollar, West Virginia sports betting bonuses will be there for the taking.
William Hill capitalized on the popularity of the Las Vegas Golden Knights’ run to the Stanley Cup, offering bonus winnings for successful Golden Knights wagers. West Virginia is home to an even higher number of popular sports teams within its region, so one would expect more team-specific bonuses to be available.
FanDuel grants players a $10 bonus bet after they’ve placed five bets of $10 or higher. They also currently offer $20 free upon signup – with some restrictions – and will likely provide something similar in West Virginia.
The highly popular daily fantasy sports giant DraftKings offers a variety of promotional codes for WV sports betting that can be redeemed for deposit bonuses and free contest entry fees. As the company moves from fantasy sports to sportsbook operations, these and other types of wager- and sport-specific promotions are expected to move with them.
Legal West Virginia online casino gambling
The next great leap forward was the legalization of online casinos. Online casinos became legal in West Virginia on March 27, 2019.
Justice allowed the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act to become law through lack of action, just as he did with the law allowing for online sports betting. West Virginia law states that a bill becomes legal if the Governor does not take action, signing or vetoing it, after 15 days.
Although online casinos are now legal it may be as long as two years before they become operational. The state still needs to create regulations which may take up to a year to complete. West Virginia Lottery Director John Myers is projecting February 2021 for the potential launch of online casino gambling.
West Virginia land-based casino options
Only the five West Virginia land-based casinos are eligible to operate a retail sportsbook.
There are four parimutuel-based casinos in West Virginia:
- Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races
- Mardi Gras Casino & Resort
- Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack
- Mountaineer Casino
Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races is in the eastern part of the state and attract players from Baltimore and Washington D.C.
Mardi Gras Casino & Resort is in the western part of the state and attracts players from Southern Ohio and Kentucky.
Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack and Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort are in the northern part of the state and attract players from Columbus, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh.
The fifth casino is The Casino Club at The Greenbrier. This is the newest addition to the state’s casinos. It is a private club and the only one that requires players to be guests of the hotel or have an invitation to an event to gain access.
Each of the five casinos has simulcast horse and greyhound wagering, slot machines, a range of table games, and a poker room.