Sports Betting West Virginia
It’s been a long time coming, but online sports betting is finally legal in West Virginia.
On 27th December 2018, the state of West Virginia joined the ranks of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Delaware offering, not sports betting in-person and online with the launch of online sportsbooks and partnership with established sportsbooks on land.
If you are into sports betting, you know that for the longest time, you could only gamble on your favorite sports with physical sportsbooks. This need arose from the fact that despite West Virginia’s friendliness to gambling and gaming, you had to visit the land-based casinos and the race tracks. However, with the 2018 Supreme Court decision to reverse the law that deemed sports betting illegal, your options have increased.
Even though online casinos and poker sites are illegal, horse wagering, online sports betting, games of skill, and daily fantasy sports are legal activities.
Following the passing of the federal law to legalize sports betting across the country, the state of West Virginia passed into law sports betting and in-person betting, as well as the subsequent regulation of these activities.
So, anyone into sports betting and 21 years or older can bet on sports, within the state lines. Considering how late after the federal ban the first online sports betting site was launched in West Virginia, it is clear that some of the lawmakers in the state were not as receptive to the idea of online betting on sports, as would it would be expected.
Before we look at the online sites that offer different kinds of sports betting activities, here is a look at the legality of sports betting in WV.
Legal Online Sports Betting in West Virginia
The 2018 decision to scrap PAPS, the federal law that banned sports betting in the US has paved the way to one of the most robust markets in the US. But, only if individual states are willing to legalize and to regulate sports betting/ wagering.
After the ruling by the supreme court, the WV lottery commission acted in the legalization and approved the regulations required to govern how the licensed casinos and their websites could offer sports betting. Sports betting in these land-based casinos kicked off in September 2018, just before the beginning of the football season.
As an anticipatory move to the Supreme Court decision, the WV Lottery Sports Wagering commission passed the legislation to allow in-house sports betting in March 2018. The Supreme Court ruling happened in June 2018. By this time, WV had 5 land-based casinos ready to offer sports wagering activities. Out of the five licensed casinos only three offer in-person sports betting currently with two others, Wheeling and Nitro, both run by Delaware North promising to offer online and in-person sports betting. Wheeling is already running its activities online.
Note, however, that the WV Lottery Commission restricted the time the casinos could accept wagers noting that the casinos could only start taking wager in 90 days, after the ruling.
Also worth noting is the fact that the legalization of sports betting resulted from the legal fight put up by the state of New Jersey. New Jersey is responsible for the ruling made by the Supreme Court through the Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association case.
Note, however, that even before PASPA’S strike down, there was the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, often referred to as UIGEA. This law which was passed in 2006 set in motion the actions which could have contributed to the Supreme Court decision.
UIGEA is the law that paved the way for the legalization of online fantasy sports thanks to the clause that declared the fantasy leagues to be Contests of Skill, hence not subject to the gaming laws. UIGEA is the reason why fantasy sports betting is legal in most states.
The other law consequential to sports betting is the 1978 Federal Horseracing Act and its subsequent amendment in 2000. This law made betting on horse racing legal with websites allowed to take wagers on horse races, away from the race tracks and from all parts of the country. For this reason and law, WV’s betting sites accept horse racing wagers from all over the US.
And now, back to sports betting
West Virginia Online Sports Betting Sites and Restrictions
In addition to placing wagers in-person, the 2018 federal and state legislation allowed casinos to provide online sports betting services to interested individuals above 21years. Under the passed law, every casino in WV received the license to operate a maximum of 3 casinos, all branded individually. The online platforms branded individually are called skins, and every skin partner has to display the logo of the casino with the license.
What this means is that the maximum number of online sportsbooks in West Virginia is 15, should the 5 WV casinos receive the license of running 3 online sites. The West Virginia Lottery commission regulates all sports betting activities in the state.
To provide sports betting activities legally, WV casinos are required to pay a $100,000 license fee. The license is renewable every 5 years with a $100,000 renewal fee. The sports betting tax charged is one of the lowest, and most reasonable at 10 percent.
The WV Lottery commission oversees the licensing of casinos and sportsbooks while ensuring compliance, and auditing licenses annually. The commission is also responsible for and is authorized to enter into legal agreements with other jurisdictions and states to facilitate/ encourage cross-border sports betting.
The other restriction placed on sports betting is on age. There is an age limit on all esports wagers and high school students are not allowed to wager. This means that no online sports betting operator can book sports betting action on the sporting events that take place in high school. However, college sporting events could be featured.
You can now bet on sports online at BetLucky.com, West Virginia’s premier sports and mobile (it launched its betting app) betting platform. The launch of this site was the result of the partnership of Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras Casino is run owned by Delaware North. The two companies partnered with Miomni Gaming to launch GetLucky.com which went live on the 27th of December 2018.
Despite being the first online sports betting and mobile betting site, Bet Lucky is determined to meet the set regulatory standards. For this, anyone interested in betting on the site is required first to scan a specific government-issued form of registration then they have to fill out a registration form.
Once registered, players have to credit their account using the app. If you cannot use the app, you’ll have to deposit funds to your account by visiting either of the two casinos above (Mardi Gras in Cross Lanes or Wheeling Island in Wheeling). Other than the casinos, interested players might have to credit their accounts in local convenience stores found throughout WV. You can only wager on sports when you have money in your account.
With GetLucky.com up and running, several other land-based sportsbooks are planning to launch online and mobile sports betting sites.
The sportsbooks include:
DraftKings – this sportsbook is expected to partner with the Charlestown Casino Penn National Gaming to offer online sports betting services. While the director of the lottery commission noted late in 2018 that it would take a bit of time before the online sportsbook is up and running, it appears that the partnership will bring forth the second online sports betting site in WV. Despite the partnership, DraftKings plans to open the online sportsbook under its name.
FanDuel Sportsbook – a big name in the online sports betting world, FanDuel is planning to open its online sportsbook in West Virginia as well.
William Hill – William Hill has partnered with Mountaineer Casino and Hollywood Casino to open an online sportsbook. Even though it is not yet confirmed whether or not the two casinos will operate the online sports betting site under the renowned William Hill name, a look at William Hill’s operations in the state of New Jersey shows that this could be the direction taken.
Other Sports Betting Products
Online Daily Fantasy Sports Betting
Betting on daily fantasy sports (DFS) has been legal since 2006, but before 2018 June, it was only offered by land-based sportsbooks. Today, you can bet on DFS online in WV from FanDuel and DraftKings.
Online Racing Betting in West Virginia
For years, both online racing betting and the real-world betting activities were legal in West Virginia and the Supreme Court ruling on sports betting did nothing more than reinforcing the position of betting on races.
To place wagers in-person, you might have to visit the horse tracks at Hollywood Casino at the Charlestown Races or the Mountaineer Racetrack and Resort. For live-greyhound races, visit Mardi Gras or Wheeling Casinos.
But, if you wish to place your bets conveniently, you get to place your wagers online on sites like BetAmerica, TwinSpires, and TVG. You must be over 18 years to place your wager.
Top Sportsbooks in West Virginia
Note that these sportsbooks are mostly land-based, except for the Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras casinos.
- Hollywood Casino
In August 2018, the Hollywood casino located at the Charlestown Races became the first sportsbook to accept sports betting wagers in West Virginia. The casino is expected to launch online/ mobile sports betting platforms. The Hollywood Casino sportsbook was found in partnership with William Hill.
In partnership with the Casino Club located at the Greenbrier, players can place their sports wagers with the FanDuel sportsbook. The first sports wager accepted by FanDuel took place in September 2018.
Note that the Greenbrier is the only WV casino that accepts visitors. According to the state laws, the casino can only allow patrons who are members of the sporting/ golf & tennis club, overnight guests, or event attendees.
- Wheeling Island Casino
Formed in partnership with Miomni Gaming, Wheeling Island is the first casino with an online sportsbook in WV in addition to a mobile app and a land-based sportsbook.
Mountaineer Casino is a sportsbook that has partnered with William Hill to provide sports betting services covering all the major sports.
- Mardi Gras Casino Sportsbooks
Mardi Gras Casino and Wheeling Island casinos partnered with Miomni gaming to bring you BetLucky.com, the first online sports betting sportsbook in West Virginia. Mardi Gras started accepting wagers in December 2018. Delaware North owns these two casinos.
Other Gambling Activities in West Virginia
With legislation put in place to encourage online sports betting West Virginia, it would appear that the state is setting in motion legislation that will legalize online gambling.
To legalize online gambling in WV, the state joined the growing number of states wishing to legalize online gambling in 2017. These actions led to the development of House Bill 3067 in March 2017 calling for the legalization of interactive gaming while allowing all the existing facilities to send in their applications for real money online gaming licenses. The legislation also established the fees and taxes for the license provider.
Though short and basic, this bill was passed and the WV Lottery commission authorized to set the rules and regulations necessary for the administration of safe and effective online gambling. After a few specifics were incorporated into the bill like setting the minimum age of players to 21, setting the tax rate at 14 percent, and the call for $50,000 licensing fee, the bill was moving in the right direction. Unfortunately, the bill did not pass and is still in the works.
On January 9th, a new bill HB 2178 was introduced to push for the legalization of online poker and online gambling. Unfortunately, the promise held by this bill was squashed by the WV Lottery Commission. The commission, however, promises that iGaming, online gambling, and online poker will be legalized at some point in the future.
And, there you have it: the state of online sports betting in West Virginia. Even though you cannot play slots or roulette online just yet, you can place wagers on your favorite sports at BetLucky.com.