DraftKings Sportsbook Licensed, But Lacks A Partner in West Virginia

Posted on September 7, 2018

The West Virginia Lottery has granted a Management Services Provider license to daily fantasy sports giant DraftKings. Now, the Boston-based company faces a bigger challenge — finding a land-based partner.

DraftKings is ready, but not everyone is looking

DraftKings knew that its application for a license was no guarantee of operation. The company probably saw the application as a way to demonstrate its readiness and interest to potential partners.

DraftKings is already a sportsbook provider by virtue of its operation in New Jersey. Its online sportsbook operates in the Garden State through a partnership with Resorts Atlantic City.

However, similar to the requirements in New Jersey, DraftKings will have to partner with one of the five West Virginia gambling locations in order to offer sports betting in the Mountain State.  Unfortunately, at least two of those locations are already taken.

Hollywood Casino Charles Town became the first sportsbook to take legal wagers on sporting events, starting on August 30. However, in the casino’s application for a license, it identified sportsbook provider William Hill as its partner, so DraftKings may be out of luck there.

The Casino Club at Greenbrier Resort partnered with DraftKings rival FanDuel back in June. The other major player in the daily fantasy sports market has already secured its West Virginia license. Launch at the swanky resort should occur within a month or so.

However, more than one brand can operate online sports betting via a casino, so there is some hope that DraftKings could have an in with either of these, although The Greenbrier seems unlikely.

Where can DraftKings go, then?

So, that leaves three possibilities for DraftKings to explore. They are:

  • Mardi Gras Casino and Resort
  • Mountaineer Casino, Hotel and Racetrack
  • Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack

Both Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island are owned by the same company, Delaware North. They also have already applied and received their sports betting licenses from the state. So, it’s possible that the company already has an idea about its partner for sports betting logistics.

The other option is Mountaineer, which is independent but geographically isolated from the rest of the state. Mountaineer has not made many waves along the sports betting front, but its position less than an hour from Pittsburgh means that it won’t be on the bench for very long. Its parent company, Eldorado Resorts, recently struck a deal with William Hill, as well.

However, the past few months in gaming have set a new standard for unpredictability. Partnerships seem to occur at a breakneck pace, and it’s hard to know who will be shaking hands next. So, stay tuned.

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Bart Shirley

Bart Shirley is a writer who covers the NJ online gambling industry as well as a poker player from Houston, Texas. He has a master's degree in business administration from Texas Christian University and a degree in English from Texas A&M. In his spare time, Bart teaches math and business at Memorial High School in Houston.

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