Online casinos are now live and legal in West Virginia. DraftKings Casino became the first online casino to open its doors to West Virginians in July 2020.
The launch completed a journey that West Virginia has been traveling since lawmakers passed the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act in early 2019. The bill became law on March 27, 2019, when Gov. Jim Justice let his legislative veto window pass without signing it.
More than a year later, on April 29, 2020, the West Virginia Lottery Commission, tasked with overseeing all types of gambling in the state, approved a set of emergency rules related to the launch of online casinos.
The licenses granted by the law gives holders the right to launch up to three online gambling sites offering online poker, online slots and online table games for a period of 270 days. Each operator is charged a $100,000 license fee; software providers must pay a $10,000 fee, and West Virginia will implement a 15% tax on gross online gambling revenue.
The West Virginia Legislature will have the opportunity to make the regulations permanent when they reconvene for the 2021 legislative session. However, with the interim rules in place, online casinos are already beginning to launch in the state.
The following page includes everything you need to know about the launch of online casinos in West Virginia, including:
The first West Virginia online casino launched in July 2020. DraftKings began accepting wagers as part of its partnership with Hollywood Casino Charles Town.
With the launch, West Virginia became the fourth state in the US to offer online casino play to its residents and visitors. The Mountain State joins Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania as locations for casino play through laptops and mobile devices.
As it happens, West Virginians can now access their favorite casino games through Android or Apple (iOS) devices. The app allows for both real money and demo play so that players can play at their preferred comfort levels.
DraftKings is unlikely to be the only game in town for very long. Both FanDuel and MGM already have inroads in the state, and their online products are already available elsewhere.
Nevertheless, you can enjoy online casino play in West Virginia right this second.
West Virginia online casinos will launch with hundreds of different games, as long as the West Virginia Lottery Commission approves.
The lottery commission will need to approve all games run by online casinos in WV. It will likely to stick to electronic versions of the same games already approved at land-based casinos across the state.
While the list of lottery commission-approved games will include a small variety of online table games and online poker variants, it is sure to be filled to the brim with online slots.
Here’s a look at the games you can or will find in West Virginia online casinos:
Slots are popular enough with the gambling public that they take up the majority of the floor space inside West Virginia land-based casinos. They will undoubtedly take up the most bandwidth at WV online casinos, as well.
Inside WV casinos, some of the classic reel one-armed bandits are still around, although most have been replaced by modern video slots with new gameplay features, bonus games and pop-culture themes.
The most popular of these slots have also made the move to online sites. Designers such as IGT, Bally and WMS have created online versions of their most popular titles at brick and mortar casinos.
That means West Virginia online casinos will feature dozens of these modern video slots, which are based on popular television, movie and musical themes with wild and scatter symbols and bonus games. Plus, there will be online versions of classic reel slots, too.
There are sure to be multi-denomination slots, penny slots, and high-roller slots. Some will come with fixed and others will have progressive jackpots.
In fact, as time goes by, there will literally be hundreds of online slots for you to choose from at West Virginia casinos online.
Blackjack is the most popular table game at WV casinos, and the game’s popularity is bound to translate online. You’ll probably find the same blackjack game you encounter at WV land-based casinos employed online.
The good news is that blackjack is played under player-friendly rules in WV with a return-to-player rate of 96.6%. In other words, the house advantage is only 3.4%.
The low-house edge is due to the following rules:
American roulette has a single and double zero slot, which almost doubles the house edge of European roulette and its single zero slot. In other words, if you want to play roulette online in West Virginia, we suggest you look around for European roulette.
Video poker has made the transition online in every state with online casinos.
The popular standards you play at brick and mortar casinos make it online in WV as well. That means multi-denominational and multi-hand versions of jacks or better, deuces wild and bonus poker should soon be available at WV online casinos.
Since you can find the following table games at WV land-based casinos, WV casino sites host online versions of the same games. The only real difference between the two is computerized random number generators determine the outcome of the games online, instead of dealers and playing cards.
The following games may one day be played at online casinos in West Virginia, but aren’t available just yet.
Craps is the most social game at WV casinos, but the social side of the game doesn’t translate all that well online.
Simply put, online craps isn’t as much fun as its live counterpart. The loss of the social aspect hurts the appeal of the game, and the speed at which the online game plays can make the tumbling dice difficult to follow.
Live dealer games combine live casino games with online wagering. The games are run by real people inside live gaming studios. Real dealers run the action, online casinos put up a simulcast of it and you can bet on it through an online betting interface.
You can even interact with the dealers and other players as it happens. Online casinos offer the following live dealer games across the US:
However, WV online casinos aren’t likely to offer live dealer casino games right away – mostly due to the cost of setting up a studio.
Casinos will more likely want to see what the market is like without live dealer games before determining if there is a big demand for these games. The size of the WV online gambling market may mean it is never financially feasible to run online live dealer games.
The top land-based slot and casino game developers in the world also build games for online casinos in the US. They include:
International Gaming Technology is one of the biggest gambling companies in the world. Iconic IGT slot titles include Megabucks and Wheel of Fortune.
IGT is also a leader in pop-culture-themed slots and linked jackpot slots like its MegaJackpots series. Some of IGT’s most popular slots include:
WMS Industries has designed and built iconic slot titles like the Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and James Bond 007-themed games.
WMS now operates under the Scientific Games umbrella, alongside Shuffle Master and Bally.
Some of its other popular slots include several Monopoly titles, Zeus and Kronos Unleashed. WMS is also responsible for themed slots such as:
Bally is an iconic American casino and gaming brand. Its most popular slots include the Quick Hit series, Triple Cash Wheel and Asian-themed slots like Lucky Tree and Fu Dao Le.
American Gaming Systems is a Nevada-based live casino and online slot designer responsible for titles like:
AGS’ Xtreme Jackpots linked-progressive series is also growing in popularity. It includes:
Konami is a video-game-turned-worldwide-slot-machine developer. It now creates original slots and games based on its popular video game licenses.
Some of Konami’s hottest slots include:
Every West Virginia online casino operator wants to make it easy for you to get money into your online casino account. So, there are a wide variety of deposit and withdrawal options available to you.
Deposit options include:
For the most part, online casinos in West Virginia allow you to withdraw money the same way you deposited it. If that doesn’t work, they issue you a check through the mail. Withdrawals may take a day or two on average.
Five casinos in West Virginia are eligible to offer online slots, blackjack and video poker.
Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races
Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort
Mardi Gras Casino & Resort
Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack
The Greenbrier Casino Club
|Online Sportsbook||Land-Based Partner||Date Launched|
|DraftKings||Hollywood Casino||Aug. 28, 2019||Play Now|
|FanDuel||FanDuel at The Greenbrier||Sept. 13, 2019||Play Now|
|BetMGM||The Greenbrier||Jan. 29, 2020||Play Now|
West Virginia land-based casinos can apply for a master license allowing them to operate up to three online casinos in the state.
Operators must pay a $100,000 license fee, software providers a $10,000 fee, and West Virginia charges a 15% tax on gross online gambling revenue.
Licensed online casino operators can then offer legal online poker in WV, plus online slots and online table games to anyone over 21 and currently inside West Virginia state lines.
Only existing land-based West Virginia casinos can apply for master iGaming licenses. This includes:
However, each casino can operate up to three skins under its master license. That means online casino operators from outside WV are free to partner with West Virginia casinos to launch inside the state.
The West Virginia Lottery Commission regulates the casino industry in West Virginia. It has also been tasked with providing oversight and running the licensing process for online gambling and online casinos in the state.
Land-based casinos in WV can obtain a master license that allows them to operate up to three online casino skins. Each operation must pay a $100,000 license fee. Plus, software providers working with these casinos must pay a $10,000 fee to operate inside the state.
Once the online casinos are up and running, they will be required to pay the state a 15% tax on all gross online gambling revenue.
West Virginia’s path to legal online gambling started with online and mobile sports betting. The state authorized the launch of retail and online sportsbooks in 2018.
BetLucky, a partnership between Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island casino owner Delaware North and sports betting tech provider Mionmi, launched in December 2018. The pair also partnered on retail sports betting operations at Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island.
Then, a dispute arose between the partners resulting in the online and retail operations both closing abruptly in March 2019. It was around this same time that WV lawmakers passed the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act. The bill, which authorized online casino gaming, became law on March 27, 2019, when Gov. Jim Justice let his legislative veto window pass. He did not sign the bill.
West Virginia Lottery officials spent the next year continuing to work mostly on mobile sports betting regulation. FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook received licenses and launched in August 2019. BetMGM has since launched, as well.
Delaware North also partnered with IGT to re-launch retail sports betting at Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island.
Then, on April 29, 2020, the West Virginia Lottery Commission finally approved a set of emergency rules to govern online casinos in the state.
The lottery commission sent these rules over to the West Virginia secretary of state for approval on May 15, 2020. The secretary of state has 42 days from May 15 to approve or reject the rules, which means interim licenses could be granted to West Virginia’s first online casinos anytime from now through the beginning of July.
Horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering have been popular in West Virginia since the 1930s.
In 1987, West Virginia allowed for video lottery terminal gaming to launch inside the Mountaineer Park racetrack.
By 1994, the West Virginia Racetrack Video Lottery Act passed, making the operation of video lottery terminals legal at all West Virginia race tracks in an effort to boost the local horse racing industry. The Mountaineer, Wheeling and Mardi Gras tracks all started running video lottery terminal casinos with over 1,200 video lottery machines that year.
In 1997, the Hollywood Races and Slots facility opened at Charles Town Races, running a similar VLT operation.
In 2007, the Mountaineer and Wheeling facilities installed poker tables and eventually began running table games as well, including blackjack, Caribbean stud, craps, roulette, three-card poker and four-card poker.
Mardi Gras installed table games a year later, and by 2008 the Greenbrier launched with video lottery and table games as well.
Hollywood Races and Slots became the Hollywood Casino in 2010, and the Greenbrier got the authorization to run a full-scale casino as well.
Almost a decade later, in early 2019 WV lawmakers passed online gambling legislation allowing WV casino to go online.
Yes. Gambling in West Virginia became legal in 1994. West Virginia currently has five land-based casinos and five land-based sportsbooks.
West Virginia is one of the few states that has legalized online casino games, online poker, and online sports betting. The first online sportsbook showed up in late 2018, and online casinos launched in July 2020.
There can be up to fifteen online casinos in West Virginia. The law allows for one license per WV casino, and three skins per license.
However, the likelihood that a state with the population of West Virginia will launch anything near that many online casinos is extremely low. The number of online casinos in West Virginia is likely to be closer to five – one for each of its land-based casinos.
Anyone over the age of 21 can legally gamble at a WV online casino. A player must be physically located within the borders of West Virginia to place a bet.