West Virginia was one of the first US states to legalize sports betting, proactively passing a bill while the federal ban was still on the books.
With bipartisan support in the legislature, the West Virginia Lottery Sports Wagering Act (S 415) became law without a signature from Gov. Jim Justice in March 2018. The governor, whose family owns one of the state’s gambling establishments, chose instead to let the bill lapse into law untouched.
By the end of the year, both retail and online sports betting were available to bettors in the Mountain State. The law permits each of the five WV casinos to open retail sportsbooks on-site and deploy up to three online/mobile skins apiece, either alone or in partnership with third-party suppliers.
The West Virginia Lottery licenses and regulates sports betting in the state.
The law requires online operators to partner with a land-based gambling licensee in order to serve the state. Each of those licensees — in this case, the five casinos — can deploy as many as three individual brands (or “skins”) into the market.
Here’s the structure of those WV online sports betting alliances:
|Licensee||Skin 1||Skin 2||Skin 3|
|Greenbrier||FanDuel Sportsbook||BetMGM Sports||--|
The West Virginia Legislature officially authorized sports betting in the state on March 9, 2018.
The bill sponsored by Sen. Ryan Ferns enjoyed bipartisan support and a relatively smooth path through both chambers. However, it remained inactive until the US Supreme Court overturned PASPA two months later. At the time, the Mountain State was just the fourth in the country to authorize single-game wagering.
Despite a great deal of meddling by the governor and the sports leagues, diligent regulatory work facilitated the launch of WV sports betting in time for the following NFL season.
The state’s first legal bet was placed at Hollywood Casino on Aug. 30, 2018, and the first online sportsbook — BetLucky — subsequently debuted on Dec. 27. Although the latter no longer exists, several more-reputable online/mobile options have since arisen in its place.
Licenses to offer WV sports betting cost $100,000 apiece and the state taxes the revenue at a modest rate of 10%.
Here are answers to some common questions about WV sports betting.
Yes, West Virginia lawmakers legalized sports betting in 2018. By the end of the year, operators were legally booking wagers in the state across both retail and online/mobile channels.
Adults at least 21 years old are eligible to bet on sports in West Virginia, provided they are (1) located in the state and (2) not otherwise excluded from gambling. Residency is not a requirement, but online/mobile platforms do require the bettor to be physically present within the borders to wager.
The five West Virginia casinos act as the primary licensees for sports betting. So far, though, only four of them have retail sportsbooks open for business.
Yes, the West Virginia sports betting law authorizes online and mobile sportsbooks in addition to physical betting locations. Although the first betting sites and apps rolled out in late 2018, the sector didn’t overcome its growing pains until the larger operators entered the market in 2019.
The West Virginia Lottery regulates all gambling in the state, including sports betting.