The West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act modernized WV online gambling laws when it was enacted in March 2019. The act, also known as HB 2934, allows licensed casinos in the state to offer various online gambling platforms.
The West Virginia Lottery Commission will issue up to five interactive gaming licenses. Prospective operators must pay a one-time $250,000 application fee and licenses are renewable every 5 years for a $100,000 fee. The West Virginia gambling age is 18 for racing, bingo, and the lottery. The West Virginia gambling age for WV online gambling, casino gaming, and VLTs is 21.
The WV online gambling landscape has gone through major changes since the overturning of PASPA. Still, there are a few things that need to be worked out before West Virginians have access to the full slate. WV online sports betting is a reality, and West Virginia online casinos and online poker rooms appear to be on the way. We will see how much of a success a fully regulated WV online gambling market will be. It might be an uphill battle in a state with such a small population and low median income. WV online sports betting revenues already fell well short of projections in the first year.
In West Virginia, betting on sports at land-based venues was legalized on September 1, 2018. Online and mobile sports betting launched two months later. WV online gambling and land-based betting is regulated. As of October 2019, Hollywood Casino at Charlestown Races, The Casino Club at Greenbrier, and Mountaineer Casino have operational land-based sportsbooks. Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island have on-site sportsbooks, but problems with their platform providers have caused operations to be suspended.
Hollywood Casino offers online and mobile wagering through a partnership with DraftKings. The Casino Club at Greenbrier is partnered with FanDuel and also offers online and mobile platforms. Both operational online and mobile platforms launched in August 2019. The Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island online sports betting platforms are temporarily suspended. Mountaineer Casino has partnered with William Hill and should have their online and mobile sportsbook running in the near future.
There are a few types of gambling that remain unregulated. Although the state doesn’t officially approve of these games, many West Virginians participate in them.
While online casinos are now legal in WV, none are operational because the application process and regulations aren’t in place. It appears that the launch of West Virginia’s first online casino will have to wait until at least February 2021. Nevertheless, operators are discussing partnerships and a few scenarios seem likely.
DraftKings Online Casino: With their partnership with DraftKings, Hollywood Casino is already in the online sports betting market. The same duo will probably move into the online casino sphere as well.
Betfair Online Casino: With Paddy Power Betfair’s acquisition of FanDuel, many have speculated that a Greenbrier/FanDuel online casino is a strong possibility.
PokerStars Online Casino: PokerStars is looking for a way into West Virginia, but they are still weighing their options. As one of the biggest names in online gambling, look for them to play a role.
Hollywood Online Casino: Hollywood Casino already partnered with FanDuel for their joint sports betting operation. They are also partnered with IGT in Pennsylvania. They will definitely be a part of the WV online gambling scene.
Mountaineer Online Casino: Mountaineer Casino already has a strong sports betting partner in William Hill. However, William Hill has yet to launch an online casino in the states. Look for the aggressively expanding BetStars to make a run at it.
Wheeling Island Online Casino: Wheeling Island is on the hunt for a sports betting partner and an online casino partner. Betfair would be a logical choice.
Mardi Gras Casino: There’s no news on the partnership front, but Mardi Gras is owned by the same company that owns Wheeling Island. They should have a few great options.
Horse and greyhound racing is immensely popular in the Mountain State. There are four race tracks with betting facilities.
While pari-mutuel and offtrack betting are regulated, advance deposit betting is not.
West Virginia currently has five licensed land-based gambling establishments.
Under the new act, these properties may operate online casinos, sportsbooks, and online poker rooms pending successful license applications. Those who are granted a WV online gambling license may partner with other companies to offer interactive betting. The partners must obtain licenses to provide management services.
These land-based facilities offer many regulated gambling opportunities including:
As an aside, gambling in several American states is monopolized by tribes. Because West Virginia doesn’t have any federally recognized tribes, tribal gaming is prohibited.
Since the laws that cover gambling have been repealed, there are still plenty of WV residents that don’t really know what the law stipulates. If you are unsure about anything related to the law, the table below summarizes the major West Virginia online sports betting laws in easily digestible chunks:
|Code Sections||Chapter 19|
Chapter 29: West Virginia Code
Article 22A – Race Track and Video Lottery)
Article 22B – Video Lottery(Limited)
Article 22C – Lottery Racetrack and Table Games
Article 10 – Public Policy Crimes
|Betting||WV, West Virginia terms betting as gambling or making wagers (money) or any other valuable thing on any gambling game.|
|Penalty||Illegal betting penalties vary from $5-$100 fine for gambling at slots or table games to $100-$1000 as well as 2 to 12 months imprisonment for keeping a table or machine.|
Operating an illicit lottery will also lead to forfeiting the proceeds to the state.
|Off-Track Betting/Dog Racing||Parimutuel wagering and licensed dog racing are permitted|
|Off-Track Betting/Horse Racing||WV law allows certified horse racing and parimutuel betting|
|Casinos||Video lottery games which can resemble slots machines are permitted at pari-mutuel racing facilities. On the other hand, the machines can’t utilize themes of the casino such as roulette, dice, and baccarat.|
|Other additional Betting Activities Permitted||Raffles, Bingo and other gambling games that are funded by charitable associations are accepted by law.|
|Other Betting Activities Prohibited||Several activities are banned here, and they include animal fighting (basically dogfighting or cockfighting) betting at hotels, ‘policy’ or ‘numbers’ games, keeping illegal betting devices, or accepting them on the property, or keeping a watch to safeguard unlicensed betting activities are all against the law.|
West Virginia sports betting laws be complex and entail both business and criminal laws. You can consult a betting lawyer for more explanations in case there’s something that you don’t understand well enough. To keep your finances in check in case you land on a huge win at the racetracks, for instance, you should consider speaking to a tax expert.