Sports betting in West Virginia was making such promising strides since launching in August 2018. All of the state’s momentum has come to a halt, however, now that the Mountain State has no form of mobile wagering available since the BetLucky mobile app is temporarily suspended.
Along with the only mobile sportsbook, betting on sports has also been shut down at two other West Virginia casinos in the state. Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras Casino, each owned and operated by Delaware North, also suspended their sports gambling operations.
The closings are a result of a contract dispute between the casinos’ software provider, Miomni Gaming, and a third-party technology supplier. Delaware North has stated that the suspension of sports betting is only temporary, but it is unknown for how long.
Let’s examine how the suspension to the only mobile sports betting platform in West Virginia will affect all of WV sports betting.
BetLucky’s suspension impacts retail sports betting
News that three of the six sportsbooks in WV are no longer accepting bets is terrible and the timing couldn’t be worse with March Madness upon us.
The customers who would typically bet at either Wheeling Island or Mardi Gras’ sportsbooks or gamble online with BetLucky are obviously forced to change their routine.
It isn’t awful for everyone, though.
Although this is just speculation, it’s quite possible that the remaining land-based casinos in WV will see a substantial bump in handle and revenue moving forward with fewer options around.
The current sportsbooks still offering sports betting in the state:
- Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races
- Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort
- The Casino Club at The Greenbrier
Excluding the FanDuel Sportsbook at The Greenbrier, because it’s a private casino, the Hollywood and Mountaineer Casino did see a slight jump in overall handle in the first report since the suspension.
The sports betting revenue summary released by the West Virginia Lottery each week showed that Hollywood and Mountaineer each accepted more total wagers for the week ending March 9 than they did the prior week.
Now this report was without the suspended locations for just two days, but this could be a sign of things to come.
Hollywood’s handle jumped up 5 percent, while Mountaineer’s increased by 20 percent.
Mountaineer happens to be just one hour north of Wheeling Island. Mardi Gras is just over two hours northwest of The Greenbrier, but as a private club, it is unlikely to provide significant relief for displaced sports bettors.
March Madness starts on Thursday. Bettors in the state will have to do something different in order to get a wager on the books. Likely, they’ll have to travel to one of the remaining sportsbooks to place their wager – maybe even make a weekend out of it.
The retail sportsbooks at Mountaineer and Hollywood will most likely benefit greatly during this time period.
New mobile sports betting platforms in WV, please
If there was ever an opportunity to release a mobile sports betting app in WV, the time is now.
Sports bettors are now required to travel to the nearest sportsbook to place a bet. That is a huge inconvenience.
While the remaining casinos will benefit, it won’t be surprising at all to see the sports betting numbers decline across the state as a whole.
So many gamblers love the convenience betting online provides because they have the entire sportsbook at their fingertips through their mobile device.
With March Madness here, an online sportsbook would be extremely useful for bettors who may be looking to get some action on one of the day’s 16 games.
Not having an online sports betting option will undoubtedly reduce the West Virginia handle for the NCAA tournament, one of the most popular sporting events of the year.
The timing of this suspension couldn’t be worse, either. Beyond the sporting events about to take place, the online market was just starting to create some momentum.
In fact, the BetLucky just helped generate the highest mobile revenue WV has seen. It pulled in more than $140,000, the most it’s made in the 10 weeks since its launch.
This figure dwindled to less than $45,000 the following week when the suspension started. Next week it will show zero.
DraftKings announced it intends to join the WV sports betting market. It seems likely FanDuel and William Hill, as partners in WV retail sportsbooks operations, are exploring the option as well. Right now would be the perfect time for one of them to launch and take hold of the entire online space.
BetLucky has some serious work to do
The real impact on West Virginia sports betting is to the sports bettors. With Delaware North remaining quiet, and no other information on the situation, WV sports bettors are understandably getting anxious.
BetLucky will have a lot of work to do to regain its customer base when it returns. It has lost any trust and loyalty from its customers.
It will surely be more difficult for BetLucky is if additional online sportsbooks launch while the app is closed. The app is often thought of has inferior to the other well-known brands.
People would clearly be more inclined to start depositing back on BetLucky if there are still no other options. Of course, that is a big if.
Hopefully, a resolution is on the horizon. If it is, then expect BetLucky will be looking to provide customers with a number of ways to say, “I’m sorry.”