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West Virginia passed the WV Lottery Interactive Wagering Act in March 2019, joining the small but growing number of US states with legal online casino gambling. With the additions of poker and sports betting, the Mountain State is one of the few that regulates all three primary forms of online gambling.
The first legal WV online casino — DraftKings Casino — went live on July 15, 2020.
So far, there is only one legal online casino in WV:
The law permits iGaming operators to partner with one of the state’s five brick-and-mortar casinos, each of which may deploy up to three online casino brands. That means there could eventually be as many as 15 online casinos available to gamblers statewide. Expect the small WV interactive market to be a competitive one.
WV online casinos will mostly be available for both desktop and mobile devices, including iOS and Android smartphones.
|Hollywood||DraftKings Casino||July 15, 2020|
Although the table is mostly empty due to a lack of public plans, we can make a few inferences.
FanDuel is the operator most likely to launch an online casino in WV under its partnership with The Greenbrier. However, the fact that MGM also has a partnership with the same property creates some doubt about which brand will ultimately enter the ring. Land-based licensees are allowed three online casino brands apiece.
The Stars Group also secured access to WV under a partnership with Eldorado Resorts, but the situation has since changed for both parties. TSG is now part of Flutter — the same company that owns FanDuel — and Eldorado sold off its WV casino in order to facilitate its acquisition of Caesars.
Products available in other regulated US online casino markets provide some indication of what games might be available from those in West Virginia.
The catalog for most operators will likely include a variety of slots and video poker titles, along with table games like blackjack and roulette. Stakes should range from as low as a penny up into the thousands of dollars.
It seems less certain that supporting companies like Evolution Gaming will bring their novel products and services to less-populous states like WV.
Online casinos routinely offer various promotions to players, including:
A no-deposit bonus gives new players funds just for registering an account, allowing them to try out games without risking any of their own money. They are similar to no-risk bets that give players free bets before they deposit. Such bonuses cannot be withdrawn, but any winnings the player accumulates with them can be.
Matching bonuses give first-time depositors an amount that matches their deposit up to a designated maximum. Those bonuses generally must also be wagered within a certain time period after depositing (e.g., 30 or 60 days). Reload bonuses are similar, giving players bonus funds to match amounts they deposit.
Referral bonuses give players bonuses for recruiting other players to get accounts. Other loyalty promotions common to online casinos include double-points deals and rewards programs.
Much as is the case with WV online sportsbooks, online casinos in the state will no doubt accept a variety of methods for users to deposit funds to their accounts:
Withdrawal options may be fewer, though cash-outs via ACH/eCheck, PayPal, and regular checks will likely be allowed. Players will also be able to withdraw funds in person at the licensing casino’s cashier cage, in all likelihood.
While players in West Virginia await regulated real-money options, there exists an alternative in sweepstakes online casinos such as Chumba Casino.
Sweepstakes games don’t use real money but rather require one of two virtual currencies — gold coins and sweeps coins. Sites that operate under this model are therefore legally able to welcome gamblers from West Virginia and nearly every other US state.
Here are answers to some of the most-common questions about online casinos in West Virginia.
Yes. Online casino gambling is legal in West Virginia under a law passed in 2019, and the first regulated sites appeared in 2020.
Sweepstakes online casinos like Chumba Casino also welcome West Virginians.
West Virginia’s rules are similar to most other states with legal online gambling. The minimum age is 21 and online gambling is open to visitors as well as state residents. Employees of the state’s casinos are forbidden from gambling, and the state lottery maintains a self-exclusion registry for problem gamblers.
One must, however, be located within the physical borders of the state in order to bet at regulated online gambling sites. Online casinos will be able to ensure players are indeed inside West Virginia via geolocation technology.
Online casino operators pay $250,000 apiece for the privilege of offering their games in West Virginia. Licenses are valid for five years, and renewal costs $100,000.
The state taxes WV online casino revenue at a rate of 15%.
The West Virginia Lottery regulates all gambling in the state, including online casinos.
Lawmakers in West Virginia spent a few years toying with the idea of legal online gambling before a piece of 2019 legislation gathered enough steam to cross the finish line.
The WV Lottery Interactive Wagering Act (HB 2934) authorized both online casinos and WV online poker sites, making the small state one of the few with a full suite of iGaming options. The two chambers passed the bill with relative ease in March, and online casinos subsequently became legal without the governor’s signature.