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With a surprise launch, West Virginia has just become the fourth US state with legal online casino gambling alongside New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.
DraftKings was the first operator to go live with a WV online casino, announcing that its app is now available for both iOS and Android devices in the state. News came in the form of a brief press release issued Wednesday afternoon.
Michigan online casinos will go live either later this year or early in 2021. DraftKings has a path to market in Michigan under a tribal partnership.
DraftKings uses a single online casino app to serve all three states, though the offerings in WV are more pared down for now.
DraftKings Casino WV so far consists of a number of individual table games, including some of DK’s own creation. Available bet amounts appear to range from as little as $1 to a maximum of $5,000.
There are no slots, however, as those games typically take longer for regulators to approve. Nor does the app feature a live-dealer tab, so those games are not yet available in West Virginia either.
DraftKings operates in the state under the license of Hollywood Casino, one of the first such partnerships forged in the wake of the repeal of PASPA in 2018.
Building on its reputation with regard to sports betting, West Virginia continues to ride the early wave of modernized gambling. The lottery in 2019 organized this push to legalize both online casinos and online poker sites, shepherding the issue through the legislature after a couple of years of lukewarm consideration.
The WV Lottery Interactive Wagering Act became law in March 2019.
Things have proceeded on schedule in the time since, including the drafting of emergency rules sufficient to get the industry up and running. Although regulators didn’t provide much insight during the licensing process, they were apparently ready to go right on time.
The framework for WV online casinos is similar to that for sports betting, with the five land-based casinos acting as the primary licensees. Each may launch up to three online casino skins, so Hollywood owner Penn National Gaming may also be preparing to use its new Barstool brand for nonsports online gambling in the state.
Flutter is so far the only other company with a known point of entry for its WV online casino, presumably via the FanDuel Casino brand. The two longtime fantasy sports rivals may have this new stage to themselves for the foreseeable future.
Online poker in West Virginia is still yet to materialize but could in the future.