The Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack, and Resort opened its sportsbook on Nov. 21. In doing so, the casino became the third West Virginia property to offer sports betting to its patrons.
Casino management cut a ribbon to celebrate the debut of the William Hill Sports Book at Mountaineer Casino. Former casino host Nunzio Veltry placed the first bet, a four-team parlay on the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, West Virginia Mountaineers, and Ohio State Buckeyes.
The new sportsbook features a video wall with a wide selection of events to wager. The facility also has several large high-definition televisions and comfortable seating for patrons. As Mountaineer Vice President and General Manager Bill Winkelried told WV Metronews:
“You can’t miss it. The boards are up, all the signs (are up), (and) the TVs are up, so you can see the lines as soon as you walk into the casino. It reminds me of Vegas.”
Though the Mountaineer is a West Virginia property, its closest cities are actually Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Cleveland, Ohio. Its location on the northern tip of the state may mean that many West Virginians won’t try the new sportsbook until its online app debuts.
Winkelried said the app’s launch won’t be until summer 2019. For now, the Mountaineer will have to settle for visitors to New Cumberland.
The Mountaineer’s debut was a bit of a surprise, considering the property only filed for its license last month. The two Delaware North properties, Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island, seemed to have the inside track to open their books sooner.
WV sportsbook’s effects to be more indirect
Some parts of casinos are not meant to generate oodles of revenue. One reason that properties are somewhat hesitant to introduce or keep poker rooms is their relative lack of profitability to slot machines and table games.
Sportsbooks can be drivers of profit for casinos, depending on the situation. Amazingly, however, Winkelried does not foresee the Mountaineer’s book as such.
Instead, the presence of the sportsbook will act more as a magnet for traffic.
“That’s more people in to sit at the tables, sit at the slots, go to the restaurant and have a couple drinks at the bar. That’s where the big increase is going to be seen,” he told WV Metronews.
He also told WTRF that the sportsbook has created 15 new permanent jobs at the casino. He expects that staffing at the bars and restaurants will also increase soon, due to the heavier patronage.
So far, results at other West Virginia sportsbooks have been varied, at least in terms of pure revenue. The combined revenues of Hollywood Casino Charles Town and the Greenbrier established a new record during the week of Nov. 17, exceeding $550,000 in gross profit for the week.