Despite its conservative reputation, West Virginia has emerged as one of the most ambitious states in the US when it comes to modernized gambling.
Lawmakers passed sports gambling legislation in 2018, and the regulated WV sports betting industry rolled out just in time for the NFL season. One year later, online, casino-style gambling could be in the cards, too.
After years of flirting with the idea, a bill (H 2934) that would legalize WV online gambling is suddenly within reach of the finish line. The bipartisan proposal is sponsored by Del. Jason Barrett and 10 of his colleagues. Both chambers of the legislature have passed the bill in full, sending it to the desk of Gov. Jim Justice.
Read on for details about the legal, regulated WV online gambling industry.
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Here’s what you need to know about online gambling in West Virginia:
No — not yet, at least. The existing law prohibits gambling over the internet, but legislation that would create a regulated industry is approaching the finish line.
WV online sports betting, on the other hand, is already legal.
West Virginia has four racetrack casinos and one private resort casino:
As is the case for sports betting, those properties are the only ones allowed to seek operator licenses for WV online gambling. Regulators will determine the number of partner brands (or “skins”) permitted for each licensee during the rule-making process.
It’s not clear yet.
Third-party suppliers must partner with a land-based casino in order to offer WV online gambling. So far, PokerStars does not have a public deal with any WV casino licensee.
Operators will pay $250,000 apiece for the privilege of offering WV online gambling. Licenses are valid for five years, and renewal costs $100,000.
The state taxes WV online gambling revenue at a rate of 15 percent.
West Virginia is, of course, a small market with a population of about 1.8 million residents. As such, online gambling will serve as more of a casino amenity than a standalone money-making machine.
Analysts project $3.9 million in first-year revenue from WV online gambling, growing as the industry matures over time.
State lawmakers legalized WV sports betting in 2018, and all five casinos have since opened retail sportsbooks.
The law also allows for online/mobile wagering, which finally began to roll out in early 2019. So far, BetLucky is the only WV online sports betting app available in the market. More are on the way, though.
Here is the partnership structure for WV sports betting, with up to three skins available for each licensee:
|The Greenbrier||FanDuel Sportsbook|
|Hollywood||William Hill US, DraftKings Sportsbook|
|Mountaineer||William Hill US|
WV sports betting revenue is taxed at a rate of 10 percent.