‘Excited To Be Live,’ DraftKings Sportsbook On Its First Weekend Of Sports Betting In WV

Written By Kim Yuhl on September 3, 2019 - Last Updated on November 17, 2023
DraftKings celebrates its first weekend in West Virginia

In case you have been hiding under a rock, DraftKings Sportsbook launched its sports betting app in West Virginia last week.

West Virginia is the second state to have the DraftKings Sportsbook product, the other being New Jersey, of course.

We reached out to the company to see how the first weekend of online sports betting fared in the Mountain State. Needless to say, it was a great weekend for bettors in West Virginia.

The first five days of betting on DraftKings

Over 20,000 bets were placed on DraftKings through the first weekend. Of course, that first weekend included the season opener for WVU football.

Unsurprisingly, the WVU Mountaineers vs. James Madison game was the most popular event in the sportsbook. The Mountaineers were favored by six points on DraftKings, and their seven-point victory made many WV bettors happy.

It’s not just WVU that West Virginia loves either. Betting on college football accounted for about 61% of handle, and the average wager was about $25. DraftKings Sportsbook WV admits that bettors held the upper hand for three out of the first five days.

Overall, it was an excellent weekend considering online sports betting in West Virginia was still in the dark as the week began.

Why it took so long for DraftKings to launch in WV

Just after the launch of the DraftKings WV app, PlayWV.com sat down with Dan Hannigan-Daley, the director of sportsbook product for the company. We talked about the delay and eventual launch of the product and what bettors can expect going forward.

After several false starts, DraftKings launched its WV online sportsbook just in time for college football, probably the most popular sport in West Virginia.

As reported earlier, the delay was to fulfill the requirements of the West Virginia Lottery to ensure compliance with the Wire Act.

It was important for DraftKings to launch with the same app it uses in New Jersey. To do that, the company had to build the infrastructure that ensured all betting data stayed within West Virginia state lines.

Of course, the building of that infrastructure took time, but Hannigan-Daley said it was imperative to the big picture.

“For us, it is really important to make sure that we had one experience across various jurisdictions. Our goal is to provide a seamless user experience wherever we operate.”

That seamless experience means the lines are the same in New Jersey and presumably around the country when DraftKings rolls out to other states. However, that means some of the restrictions are the same – at least for now.

What is missing at DraftKings Sportsbook WV

Currently, WV bettors can’t bet on New Jersey college teams because of the laws in that state. Hannigan-Daley said that would change, but it was more important to launch the product first.

“We wanted to get our product online and didn’t think [betting on New Jersey schools] was going to be a major issue. I think probably by the middle of the season you will be able to bet on whatever teams are legal to bet on in your jurisdiction.”

Another feature that is missing is DraftKings Betting Pools.  Betting pools are a fixed-price betting contest where the player is competing against the bets of other players.

Pools are very popular, especially for new bettors. Look for betting pools to be rolled out sometime soon.

Next level live betting at DraftKings

Hannigan-Daley drew our attention to a relatively new feature: Flash Bet.

Flash Bet is perfect for action junkies. It is a fast-paced live betting option inside the DraftKings Sportsbook app. It allows players to bet continuously throughout the game on a variety of live game betting options.

Flash Bet first rolled out for Wimbledon. At the time of the roll-out, Jordan Mendell, Senior Vice President of Product Research and Development, commented on the new feature.

“Live wagering is already widely popular today, but also represents a crucial part of the customer experience and engagement tomorrow. Short of playing on the court themselves, we are wholly invested in bringing our customers as close as possible to Wimbledon this year, while also giving them a taste of the lightning-quick innovations to come.”

Currently, Flash Bet is available for:

  • Tennis
  • Soccer
  • MLB

Look for Flash Bet to roll out for NFL drive-by-drive betting in week two or three of the NFL season. See our full guide to NFL Betting in WV for more.

What about a DraftKings loyalty program?

The good news for players is a DraftKings loyalty program is in the works. It is likely to be an extension of the loyalty program found in the daily fantasy sports product.

The desire for DraftKings to have one user experience extends to integrating DFS into the Sportsbook product.

Halligan-Daley doesn’t have a time frame for the integration but emphasizes it is part of the master plan.

“A combined product would allow us to do cross-product loyalty programs and cross-product promotions and all sorts of interesting things like that. There are other operators that have gone out with a different app for this and that. But we’re of the mindset that it should be one complete experience.”

DraftKings WV just the beginning

For now, DraftKings says there are some differences in the app. The most notable one is that there is obviously no online casino inside the WV app. When that becomes an option in West Virginia, the company will undoubtedly be looking to add it.

The company is also committed to providing the best user experience in the market. The company is listening to its customers.

According to Halligan-Daily, they have had twenty-seven app releases in the past year. That is basically one every two weeks or so. Many of the app releases to date included ideas and feedback from the community.

“We’re excited to be live in West Virginia and hopefully we’ll get to a couple more states as the NFL season progresses. It’s an exciting time to be in the sports betting business.”

Indeed it is.

In addition to DraftKings, its DFS and now sports betting competitor, FanDuel Sportsbook WV also launched last week. West Virginia may only have two online sportsbooks today, but there is a potential for 13 more. Specifically, we are keeping our eyes on William Hill to make some online sportsbook launch news soon.

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Kim Yuhl

Kim Yuhl has over five years of experience writing about poker culture, the online gambling industry, and more recently, the legalization of sports betting.

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