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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 in March 2018 without a signature from Gov. Jim Justice. The governor, whose family owns one of the state’s gambling establishments, instead allowed the bill to lapse into law — purportedly to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.
By the end of the year, both retail and online sports betting were available in the state. The latter suffered a false start at the hands of BetLucky before returning permanently in 2019.
There are currently three sports betting apps available in West Virginia:
William Hill also operates a retail sportsbook in the state, which could eventually spawn another WV sports betting app. The two Delaware North casinos will additionally use the betly brand to rejoin the state’s online market at some point.
WV sports betting apps are typically available for both iOS and Android devices.
The WV sports betting law requires online operators to partner with a land-based casino licensee in order to serve the state. Each of those licensees can deploy as many as three individually branded products (or “skins”) into the market.
Here’s the structure of online sports betting alliances in WV:
|Licensee||Skin 1||Skin 2||Skin 3|
|The Greenbrier||FanDuel Sportsbook||BetMGM Sports||--|
BetMGM has the potential to be a big name in US sports betting, but has a little bit slower out of the gates than some of its competitors. In West Virginia, at least, its launch came only a few months after that of FanDuel and DraftKings. Like FanDuel, it chose The Greenbrier as its partner. The BetMGM brand is operated by Roar Digital, created as a joint endeavor between MGM Resorts International and GVC Holdings.
BetMGM also offers legal online casino gambling in WV.
FanDuel’s monopoly in West Virginia lasted barely 48 hours, as DraftKings followed it into the market later the same week. The DraftKings partnership was inevitable under its nationwide market-access deal with Hollywood owner Penn National Gaming. DraftKings was itself under private ownership until April 2020, when it went public via a reverse merger with technology provider SBTech.
DraftKings Casino also operates legally in WV.
FanDuel wasn’t technically the first sports betting app in West Virginia, but it has fared much better than its only predecessor. It launched in August 2019, bringing online betting back to West Virginia after a five-month absence stemming from the failure of BetLucky. The daily fantasy giant chose The Greenbrier as its land-based partner, making it the epicenter of online betting in the state.
Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island are both owned by Delaware North. It was through these licenses and a now-defunct joint venture with Miomni that the group made its ill-fated entry to the market under the BetLucky brand.
Delaware North made its second attempt at sports betting starting in January 2020, reopening its two retail sportsbooks under a new brand — betly. They’re powered by a fresh partnership with IGT, a well-established company that should prove less problematic than the old BetLucky suppliers.
When the retail sportsbooks opened, Delaware North indicated it expected a mobile app to follow “very soon.” Those plans may have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic or other reasons, and as yet there is still no firm date for launch.
West Virginians enjoy betting on the same sports as gamblers in other states. The top leagues for betting include:
Unlike some states, WV does not have any particular collegiate betting restrictions. Fans of second-tier sports like tennis, golf, and cricket will also find the opportunity to bet on major competitions in those sports in WV.
So far, the state regulator has not made a firm decision one way or the other about esports and mind sports betting.
WV sports betting includes all the usual betting options on both professional and collegiate sports. Operators may offer:
Combination bets such as parlays and round-robins are also allowed. Most operators also offer a full slate of in-play betting options.
Online sports betting promotions typically come in one of two flavors in West Virginia.
Free bets are exactly that, promotional wagers given to new players just for signing up. Some may take the form of a matched bet, while others will not require the customer to bet their own money. Deposit bonuses reward bettors for funding their accounts by adding additional money — either a flat amount or a percentage of the associated deposit.
Most WV online sportsbooks offer bonuses in one or both of these categories.
Much as is the case with WV online casinos, online sportsbooks in the state accept a variety of methods for users to deposit funds to their accounts:
Withdrawal options are fewer, though cash-outs via ACH/eCheck, PayPal, and regular checks are generally available. Bettors are also able to withdraw funds in person at the licensing casino’s cashier cage.
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. All of them have physical sportsbooks on site. Online and mobile betting are also available statewide.
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 early growing pains until the larger operators entered the market in 2019.
West Virginia lawmakers imposed a modest tax rate for sports betting operators amounting to 10% of gross revenue. Five-year licenses are likewise affordable compared to many jurisdictions at $100,000 apiece.
The West Virginia Lottery regulates all gambling in the state, including sports betting.
The WV legislature officially authorized sports betting in the state in 2018 after failed attempts in the two years prior.
The bill sponsored by Sen. Ryan Ferns enjoyed bipartisan support and a relatively smooth path through both chambers, though 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 legalize 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 WV — subsequently debuted on Dec. 27. Although the latter no longer exists, several more-reputable online/mobile options have come to the market since.