Betly closed its doors in the Mountain State on June 18, citing it would shut down temporarily before reopening its brand new West Virginia online sportsbook and casino.
The new Betly app will provide users a new experience, integrating the sportsbook and casino for players to bet on sports, table games and online slots from the same wallet.
According to the company’s press release, the new app will launch later this summer. However, Betly only accounted for a single-digit percentage of all West Virginia sports betting volume during FY 2022-23 and will enter a tough online casino market alongside the most prominent players in the field.
Will Betly’s new app enable it to gain ground on the competition above? Let’s take a look.
New Betly app creates better experience, but it won’t move the needle
Before shutting down, Betly already boasted one of the better sportsbook interfaces. Its user-friendly aesthetic and immersive features, including live streaming, in-play betting, real-time updates and detailed statistics, gave it an edge over the larger names in the space.
Betly only offered sports betting during its last window of operation. When it reopens, it will have a second brand to join the ranks of WV online casinos and find its place among competitors like BetRivers, Golden Nugget and the recently-launched WynnBet Casino.
Revenue figures from the West Virginia Lottery do not report on individual operators, only the combined totals from each retail casino licensee.
Fiscal Year 2023 mobile sports betting handle totaled $455.5 million, resulting in $45.8 million in revenue:
Mountaineer (Caesars, BetRivers): $31.2 million handle; $1.6 million revenue
Wheeling Island (Betly, WynnBet): $1.4 million handle; $97,000 revenue
Mardi Gras (Betly, WynnBet): $3.2 million handle, $77,000 revenue
Hollywood Charles Town (DraftKings, PointsBet, Barstool): $207.8 million handle, $17.7 million revenue
The Greenbrier (FanDuel, BetMGM, Golden Nugget): $212 million handle, $26.4 million revenue
Given WynnBet’s recent launch, we can attribute most Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island wagers to Betly. Even with two licensees, it seems its footprint will remain too small to make a significant difference.
Betly online casino WV will boost traffic
Betly can still have a profitable place in the West Virginia online gambling market, even if it will not show the returns of industry titans like DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM.
Adding an online casino will generate more attention for its new app, especially if any promotions run for the launch. As a result, Betly will see an initial burst of business with some new customers sticking around.
Also, West Virginia’s online casino vertical appears more of an open field than sports betting. DraftKings announced it overtook the top spot from BetMGM this spring, though its sportsbook remains second to FanDuel.
Ultimately, Betly’s new integrated casino-sportsbook app gives it better name recognition across multiple verticals, while providing customers more options within the palms of their hands. This will result in higher revenue totals, but won’t make a huge impact on West Virginia’s growing online gambling landscape.
WV sports betting apps have shut down before
Last month’s shutdown was the second time a sportsbook closed temporarily under the Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island umbrella.
The two casinos suspended retail and mobile sports betting operations (then with BetLucky) in 2019 due to a contract dispute with a technology supplier. Business resumed in January 2020, with BetLucky out and Betly in.
Recently, Bally Bet Sportsbook has a similar story, having closed in all but one US-facing market. Like Betly, the shutdown is temporary while Bally Bet upgrades its technology.
Also, like Betly, Bally Bet’s new interface will give it a negligible boost in the big picture.
Expected timeline for Betly app launch in West Virginia
With Betly’s sportsbook apps unavailable, customers have until July 31 to withdraw funds from their accounts. After that, it will settle all balances by mailing checks to appropriate players’ registered mailing addresses.
Account balances are non-transferrable, and the new app will require all players to re-register before depositing and placing wagers.
Betly has not officially announced a reopening date yet, but time remains of the essence. After nearly two years of an eight-casino market, West Virginia welcomed WynnBet Casino last month, with others like Play’n Go and Hacksaw Gaming waiting in the wings.
More urgency lies on the sportsbook side, too, as football season is right around the corner. If the app is not up by then, the brand will face an even greater uphill battle.