How Much Do West Virginian’s Spend On Gambling? Probably, More Than You Think

Posted on April 19, 2019 - Last Updated on April 18, 2019

Legal gambling within the US has been expanding for years now as more states adjust regulations to allow new forms of betting for their residents, including online gambling.

West Virginia sports betting is a great example. The Mountain State is one of the few states in the country to introduce legalized sports betting and online casino gambling.

A study was conducted by 24/7 Wall Street to determine exactly how much each person on average spends on gambling every year, broken up by individual states.

Of course, Nevada was the leader by a sizable amount, but the rest of the data collected provided good insight into how much each state bets and how their residents tend to risk their money.

Unfortunately, the report shows its findings from 2016 because of certain tax information only available through that time. Although this remains consistent for all the states, it seems like some of the statistics are lower than if the spending from 2018 was used.

That being said, this review details how much each state spent on casino and lottery gambling and calculated a total average of spending per adult within each state based on the population estimates from the US Census Bureau.

Gambling spending in WV

WV finished with the fifth-highest average when it comes to spending money on the lottery and casino games. It finished behind:

  • Nevada
  • Rhode Island
  • Mississippi
  • Delaware

Coincidentally, all five of these states now offer legal sports betting. Besides Nevada, they each became regulated to do so at different times over the last year, so this fact obviously doesn’t play into the results of the gambling study.

It could, however, provide a glimpse into how these states view gambling as a whole and how they might continue to expand moving forward. Even though legal betting is all the rage in some areas of the US, others like Utah and Hawaii don’t allow any state gambling or lottery at this time.

Here are the specifics of WV gambling:

  • Total spending per adult: $811
  • Casino spending per adult: $450
  • Lottery spending per adult: $360

Let’s compare these figures with Nevada which was the highest, and New Jersey, which finished eighth in average:

Nevada

  • Total spending per adult: $4,973
  • Casino spending per adult: $4,973
  • Lottery spending per adult: $0

New Jersey

  • Total spending per adult: $528
  • Casino spending per adult: $374
  • Lottery spending per adult: $154

WV online gambling in the future

It’s almost impossible to predict how betting figures and tendencies will unfold going forward into the future because online gambling is in its infancy. However, using the information from this report can help.

One of the biggest factors these numbers don’t show is how many bettors from out of state are contributing to the totals.

Although this might not be as big of a deal when it comes to the lottery because most states in the US offer some form of this gambling, it could be a major factor when deciphering statistics from casino and sports betting.

Let’s examine WV’s closest neighboring states and how they fared in 2016 spending:

  1. Pennsylvania
  • Total spending per adult: $439
  • Casino spending per adult: $318
  • Lottery spending per adult: $121
  1. Maryland
  • Total spending per adult: $392
  • Casino spending per adult: $258
  • Lottery spending per adult: $135
  1. Ohio
  • Total spending per adult: $292
  • Casino spending per adult: $188
  • Lottery spending per adult: $104
  1. Virginia
  • Total spending per adult: $105
  • Casino spending per adult: $0
  • Lottery spending per adult: $105
  1. Kentucky
  • Total spending per adult: $88
  • Casino spending per adult: $0
  • Lottery spending per adult: $88

Even though WV ranks much higher than its neighbors in Kentucky and Virginia, the spending amount per adult isn’t all that different. What will separate this in 2019 and beyond is how the states decide to implement additional forms of gambling like online casino gambling and sports betting.

WV is in line to provide both to its residents at some point. Of course, the state already has land-based sports betting at its WV sportsbooks. It is also looking to add new online sportsbooks, as well as the launch of online casino gambling by each of the WV land-based casinos.

Staying ahead of the competition

Getting ahead of the competition is huge when discussing anything related to legalized gambling. If a state moves too slowly, it will without a doubt start to lose business to neighboring states that can offer these amenities.

Currently, WV’s only neighbor that has legal sports betting is PA. Both Kentucky and Ohio have introduced sports betting legislation in recent years, but nothing has passed into law yet.

Then there are states like Virginia and Maryland that can barely offer their residents any form of gambling at all because of strict regulations in place. How these state legislators react to the expanding betting market will affect both their individual state and all of the states surrounding the area.

If things stay the way they are, this report will look vastly different in the future. WV will be a direct benefactor in all gambling areas because bettors in these other states will have no option but to come to the Mountain State to place their wagers.

This has a trickle-down effect as well. People crossing state lines to place a sports bet will also likely decide to start doing some casino gambling, too.

After legal sports betting was put into place, WV casinos saw an increase in revenue for both video lottery and table games.

WV Lottery Director John Myers spoke of the upturn the state saw in December.

“Sports betting has to help, of course, with more people coming in the doors and spending time.”

With seemingly everything connected, it will be interesting to see what the states without many gambling options decide to do moving forward. Only time will tell if they continue their conservative ways, or make the jump into the current times like WV.

Chris Imperiale Avatar
Written by
Chris Imperiale

Chris Imperiale covers sports betting and the online casino industries. He has a journalism degree from Rutgers University and was formerly on staff at Bleacher Report.

View all posts by Chris Imperiale
Privacy Policy