Has Kentucky’s Launch Impacted West Virginia Sports Betting?

Written By Corey Sharp on October 26, 2023 - Last Updated on October 27, 2023
Image of Kentucky on a map for a story about the impact the state's new market will have on West Virginia sports betting.

Kentucky launching sports betting late last month could affect West Virginia as a border state. However, West Virginia, which debuted sports betting in 2018, has had other border states go live in recent years.

The West Virginia Lottery released West Virginia sports betting totals for the first 14 days of the month. Figures in October have declined over the years, and it might be due to the mature market the Mountain State has become.

West Virginia sports betting handle dropping in October. Kentucky to blame?

A sports betting launch in a neighboring state is nothing new for West Virginia. The following states have gone live with online sportsbooks recently:

  • Ohio: January 2023
  • Maryland: November 2022
  • Virginia: January 2021

Kentucky is now the latest border state to launch online sports betting. Could it have an effect on West Virginia in any way?

The West Virginia Lottery reports revenue on a weekly basis. Through the first two weeks of October, online sportsbooks have generated $19.4 million in total bets so far. Here are the handle results from early October reports from years past:

  • 2021: $21.9 million
  • 2022: $20.3 million
  • 2023: $19.4 million

Revenue has also slowly declined in the beginning of October for three consecutive years now, despite October being one of the busier months on the sports calendar.

Even though it’s tough to pinpoint a gradual decrease, an explanation could be that West Virginia is one of the most mature markets in the country.

Those located in Kentucky close to the West Virginia border do not need to cross state lines to wager anymore. Kentucky is one of five states where 18-year-olds are allowed to bet. So, while 18-year-olds aren’t contributing to the decline in West Virginia sports betting, it’s possible they are crossing state lines to wager in Kentucky. The Bluegrass State reported $250 million in handle since launching.

Here are the WV sports betting apps that are also available in Kentucky:

West Virginia is a mature sports betting market

As a whole, the West Virginia sports betting market has grown in handle and revenue since its launch, but it’s getting slower and slower. Here are the figures since 2019:

  • 2019: $226 million handle; $19.1 million revenue
  • 2020: $392.5 million handle; $26.5 million revenue
  • 2021: $546.9 million handle; $45.1 million revenue
  • 2022: $571.3 million handle; $50.8 million revenue

It appears that West Virginia’s peak occurred in 2021. The Mountain State’s handle started to decline year over year in the final four months of 2022, before the launch of Maryland.

West Virginia is expected to see a huge decline in sports betting handle and revenue in 2023. The Mountain State is on pace to take in just $428.7 million in total bets and $39.7 million in revenue in 2023.

Despite growing at a smaller rate in 2022 after Maryland and Virginia launched, it’s possible that West Virginia has no more room for growth. Kentucky’s launch will not hurt West Virginia any more than the fact that it has become a mature sports betting state.

Photo by Shutterstock.com
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Corey Sharp

Corey Sharp is the Lead Writer at PlayWV bringing you coverage of the WV online casino market in the Mountain State. Corey is a 4-for-4 Philly sports fan and previously worked as a writer and editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer and NBC Sports Philadelphia.

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