Long Live The King: DraftKings Launches The First West Virginia Online Casino

Posted on July 15, 2020 - Last Updated on July 27, 2020

This is a developing story and will be updated with more information as it becomes available.

DraftKings Casino became the first legal West Virginia online casino on Wednesday.

DraftKings took its online sports betting partnership with Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races to the next level. In addition to accessing the casino through the DraftKings betting app, customers can play on its new standalone casino app.

West Virginia Lottery Director John Myers issued a statement about the launch.

“This is the culmination of a great deal of hard work and planning over the course of the last year, and we are looking forward to the licensing and approval of our other casinos and their affiliated providers when they are ready to do so.”

West Virginia became the fourth state to offer online casino gambling, joining Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

About the DraftKings Casino app

DraftKings Casino is available for both iOS and Android. The online casino app offers many of the same casino games you will find in a brick-and-mortar casino, including:

  • Blackjack
  • Three Card Poker
  • Keno

Online slots have yet to make an appearance, but you can bet they will show up shortly. A press release from the company makes no mention of upcoming games, but the lack of a five-card-draw style poker option is sure to cause demand for such a game among WV gamblers.

State Del. Shawn Fluharty gave us the first look at the online casino app.

DraftKings Casino in West Virginia joins NJ and PA

The WV Lottery Interactive Wagering Act automatically became law in March 2019 after Gov. Jim Justice failed to sign or veto the bill. The lottery was then tasked with establishing regulations and the licensing process.

As the lottery was getting started, Myers went to Pennsylvania for advice.

Myers told WV Metro News back in December 2019 that he felt good about the process of establishing regulations after meeting with PA officials.

“They are set up very familiar to how we are. It’s kind of a relief. It gave us a little confidence that we’re headed in the right direction.”

DraftKings Casino is already available in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. One thing we know for sure is DraftKings may be the first, but it certainly won’t be the last online casino to launch.

Other casino brands on the horizon for West Virginians

Three other online casino platforms that WV residents and visitors should look out for already have a foothold in the state for online sports betting. Those are iGaming products from Flutter and MGM.

Flutter owns FanDuel, which has a market access agreement for the Mountain State with The Greenbrier Casino Club in White Sulphur Springs. The same also operates a FanDuel Casino product in NJ and PA.

Flutter also owns another online gambling vertical that video poker players are quite familiar with, PokerStars. Should DraftKings continue to essentially cede the market for five-card poker games in WV, PokerStars could easily dominate that niche in the state.

BetMGM might have something to say about that, however. Like Flutter, it operates an online casino product in NJ and PA. Also like Flutter, it has a sports betting agreement with The Greenbrier.

While DraftKings enjoys a “monopoly” right now, that may not be the situation for long. For that reason, the pressure is on DraftKings to exploit its advantage while it can.

Benefits of being the first to market

DraftKings already enjoys name recognition in WV. The challenge for the company now is making West Virginians aware of its casino offerings.

Current DraftKings Sportsbook customers should expect a marketing barrage complete with promos for trying out the product. For DraftKings app users, this will be a simple process, as the branding and interface will be very familiar.

Making it even more convenient is that current DraftKings users in WV won’t have to register new accounts to play casino games. All they have to do is log in with their existing credentials. They can use the same funding sources as well.

By being the first to market, DraftKings can set expectations for people in WV. Simply put, because there are no competitors right now, DraftKings doesn’t have to worry about customers perceiving another brand as superior in any way.

The launch has already had a positive effect on DraftKings. Its stock rose by three points after Wednesday’s announcement. If it turns its head start into a dominant market share, that should prompt a further rise.

Although having several operators will offer a competitive marketplace for WV gamblers, someone had to be first. Those players will now have their say about whether DraftKings’ online casino is worth the hype.

Derek Helling Avatar
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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