The roller coaster that is online West Virginia sports betting continued over the last few weeks. Media reports on Wednesday, however, noted that DraftKings Sportsbook WV and FanDuel Sportsbook WV may enter the WV sports betting market as soon as next week.
The report offered bettors in the state some much-needed good news. If the platforms enter the market, it would mark the first available mobile option since BetLucky went defunct in March.
An opportunity for online betting
Back in April, three betting apps received approval from the West Virginia Lottery to operate in the state:
It looks as if two of these may enter the market soon. Legal Sports Report noted on Wednesday that DraftKings could debut in WV next week. WV MetroNews also reported FanDuel looks promising to launch next week as well.
“I can say we’re getting very close,” state lottery director John Myers told WV MetroNews on Wednesday.
“Testing is completed on one and ongoing on another. I don’t have an official roll-out date yet.”
Myers said he believes that online sports betting for WV should be available by Aug. 31, the start of college football in West Virginia. And not to mention, the NFL season gets underway a week later.
“We’ve wanted to see it up and running as much as anybody. I know there’s some concern that it’s taken a while but when you do something for the time you have to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. Now we think we’re there.”
Waiting game might be over?
Football is the most popular betting season and a slow rollout would have hurt the market. Missing the 2019 kickoff could be costly in terms of revenue for WV casinos and the state.
On Aug. 16, Myers told PlayWV that regulators were getting close to final approval on some sports betting apps being reviewed. He said operators were still working to comply with state regulations and that the Wire Act had been an issue.
“There is no holdup from the state side. The lottery has told them how a mobile system needs to be set up since 2018. Some of our management services providers initially provided a system that did not meet those requirements and the lottery denied approval of those based on the requirements of the Federal Wire Act.”
The federal government recently appealed a judge’s ruling declaring that the Wire Act only applies to Sports betting. It appears the state has worked through those issues.
A long time coming
Bettors in the Mountain State will be ready for the virtual wagering windows to open. But many may take a wait and see approach.
As of now, there are three retail sportsbook options for WV bettors as the opening game of the WVU football season approaches.
- Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races
- Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort
- The Casino Club at The Greenbrier
The state has seen this scenario play out before. A launch was rumored just two months ago, but that never came to fruition.
That came after the BetLucky app was shut down in March. Delaware North, the operator of Mardi Gras Sportsbook and Wheeling Island Sportsbook casinos, partnered with Miomni on the platform.
After a legal dispute involving a third-party European software company named EnterG, the entire operation unraveled. Delaware North and Miomni are now in court.
On Wednesday, Legal Sports Report detailed how things went sour in the partnership. Miomni is now battling in court on two continents – in one lawsuit in the UK with EnterG and facing another with Delaware North in the US.
“A pricing dispute created a rift between EnterG and Miomni that ultimately left DNG [Delaware North] without any solution for sports betting, effectively shuttering WV sports betting in March,” the report notes.
“Miomni never obtained the intellectual property it sought, and EnterG all but vanished from the radar. Now it’s up to the courts to decide who’s at fault and which parties own which pieces of the puzzle.”
Beyond the legal entanglement, the dissolution caused the shutdown of the Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island sportsbooks. That’s led to an even smaller sports betting market in the state.
With the news of the arrival of DraftKings and FanDuel, that could change soon. Plenty of bettors will be keeping their fingers crossed for sportsbook apps and online casinos in West Virginia.