It is no surprise the sports betting market in West Virginia is struggling. Well, it is showing up in the numbers.
Sports betting revenue took a big hit in the month of June. In fact, total revenue in June dropped by 41% from the previous month.
May revenue came in at $719,097.75, whereas June posted a dismal $423,539.45. This is the lowest revenue figure since Aug. 2018 when only one sportsbook was open for only a few days.
WV betting handle taking a nose dive
It’s not just revenue that is suffering, either. Unfortunately, total handle is also showing declining trends. It recorded a 13% drop in June when compared to May.
In May, players wagered $10.7 million but only $7.5 million passed through betting windows in June.
Overall, handle has been steadily dropping since January, but not at the level seen in most recent months.
January’s handle was a healthy $21 million followed by:
- February $17 million
- March $14 million
- April $13 million
- May $10.7 million
- June $7.5 million
What’s driving the lower sports betting revenue numbers?
A portion of the drop in handle and revenue can be attributed to the season.
The most likely reason for such a huge drop off can be attributed to the lack of online sports betting and limited land-based options.
The Mountain State had just over two short months of online sports betting before ending abruptly in early March.
Mardi Gras Sportsbook and Wheeling Island Sportsbook, both Delaware North properties, partnered with BetLucky to provide online sports betting. However, a contract dispute between Delaware North and the technology provider, Minomi, shut down both the retail sportsbook and the mobile betting app.
Online sports betting was a small percentage of the total sports betting handle, but it was increasing steadily until it unexpectedly shut down.
Considering the momentum it had going into March Madness, it may have been a significant contributor to the overall sports betting handle for the state.
Limited access to WV sportsbooks
Not all sportsbooks are created equal in terms of revenue in West Virginia.
In the weeks before the shutdown, both Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island took in more handle than Mountaineer and The Greenbrier. Their absence is now being felt and the northern part of the state is void of a retail sportsbook.
The rural nature of the state makes online sports betting a necessity for the state to realize its full potential.
Compared to the other casinos, Hollywood Casino looks robust. Its location near the borders of Maryland, Washington DC and Maryland gives it a huge advantage. Even so, it has posted some of its lowest handle being the first sportsbook to accept a bet in the state.
Expect another slow month in July
Both bettors in the state and the casinos are waiting patiently for two things:
- The NFL and college football betting seasons to start
- The launch of a sports betting app
The NFL preseason gets underway in August, as does the college football season. In fact, both the WVU Mountaineers and Marshall Thundering Herd take to the field on Aug. 31 for their season openers.
Of course, even football betting won’t have the impact that re-launching an online sports betting app will. In fact, without online betting, it is fair to say sports betting revenue will continue to suffer.
There are three apps approved to offer online sports betting in WV:
It is thought that DraftKings will be the first app to launch since it is the only app that has passed the required testing. Even so, the West Virginia Lottery estimates it will be football season before DraftKings, or any other betting app comes online.
Neither the Lottery nor DraftKings have a timeline for exactly when the online app will be launched but all parties are working together to ensure compliance with federal laws.
Once online sports betting is again part of the WV gambling scene and the NFL season is in full swing revenue is expected to rebound.