West Virginia recently ushered in a new era for West Virginia gambling. The West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act automatically became law on March 27, 2019, when Gov. Jim Justice let the veto window pass.
The law legalizes online casino gambling in West Virginia providing one license for each of the five West Virginia casinos:
- Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races
- Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort
- The Casino Club at The Greenbrier
- Mardi Gras Casino & Resort
- Wheeling Island Hotel
West Virginia welcomed the news as its only mobile sports betting option, BetLucky Sportsbook, recently suspended operations.
On March 6, 2019, online sports betting in West Virginia came to a sudden halt due to a contract dispute between Delaware North and its sports betting provider, Miomni.
The shutdown also found Mardi Gras Casino Sportsbook and Wheeling Island Sportsbook with closed betting windows.
Until the first online casino launches or sports betting finds its way back online, West Virginia is without a legal online gambling option.
When will mobile sports betting return?
West Virginia sports betting suffered a severe loss when BetLucky closed. Now, Delaware North wants to sever ties, it is unlikely BetLucky will return to West Virginia.
So when will mobile sports betting in West Virginia return?
Once again, there is no firm timeline to bring a new mobile sports betting app to West Virginia. However, the West Virginia Lottery just approved several online sports betting licenses.
However, there is speculation that DraftKings Sportsbook will launch soon.
DraftKings Sportsbook announced late Dec. 2018 that it partnered with Hollywood Casino to bring mobile sports betting to West Virginia. Since then, “any day now” seems to be the target date. State Lottery Director John Myers cited the recently-revised wire act opinion as to the reason for the slow implementation.
FanDuel operates the retail sports betting operations for The Greenbrier. The FanDuel Sportsbook at the Greenbrier opened its betting windows on Sept. 13, 2018. There has been no official word if FanDuel and The Greenbrier will once again partner to bring online sports betting to the Mountain State. It seems likely, though, considering The Greenbrier is a private gambling club limiting FanDuel’s access to customers.
William Hill Sportsbook
William Hill currently powers Mountaineer Sportsbook. There have not been any public discussions about taking the partnership online. Even so, it is hard to imagine that William Hill would be satisfied with just providing retail sports betting services.
Projected launch dates for WV online sportsbooks
|WV sportsbook||Retail partner||Retail launch date||Online partner||Online launch date|
|Hollywood Casino Sportsbook||William Hill||Sept. 1, 2018||DraftKings Sportsbook||TBD|
|Mountaineer Sportsbook||William Hill||Nov. 21, 2018||TBD||TBD|
|FanDuel Sportsbook at The Greenbrier||FanDuel||Sept. 13, 2018||Likely FanDuel||TBD|
|Mardi Gras Sportsbook||TBD; Formerly partnered with Miomni||Dec. 27, 2018||TBD; Formerly partnered with Miomni||Currently suspended; Originally launched Dec. 27, 2018|
|Wheeling Island Sportsbook||TBD; Formerly partnered with Miomni||Dec. 27, 2018||TBD; Formerly partnered with Miomni||Currently suspended; Originally launched Dec. 27, 2018|
West Virginia online casino launch dates
Currently, there is not a firm date to launch the first West Virginia online casino. In fact, the regulations and application process still need to be outlined.
All five WV casinos will likely to apply for an online license when the application process opens.
The closest there is to a timeline to launch online casinos is Feb. 2021. The WV Lottery has until June 2020 to finalize regulations and the application process should open then.
WV Lottery Director, John Myers believes the timeline is prudent considering the upcoming 2020 election and the 2021 inauguration.
DraftKings Online Casino
DraftKings, the Daily Fantasy Sports turn sports betting turned online casino giant, will likely seek to launch its online casino in West Virginia. It partnered with Hollywood Casino to bring mobile sports betting to the Mountain State and it might look to Hollywood for entry into the online casino market, as well.
Betfair Online Casino
Paddy Power Betfair acquired FanDuel last summer, providing the sportsbook access to one of the more popular casino platforms. FanDuel partnered with The Greenbrier for its retail sports betting operation. Mobile sports betting and online casino gambling is just speculation at this stage.
PokerStars Online Casino
PokerStars Online Casino from the global online poker giant will likely look for a way to enter the West Virginia online gambling market. The company has made its plans known to pursue legal and regulated gaming markets as the become available.
Hollywood Online Casino
Owned by Penn National, Hollywood Casino can probably have its pick of online casino partners. It has inked a mobile sports betting partnership with DraftKings and its awaiting approval from regulators. Additionally, in Pennsylvania, Penn National is working with IGT to bring online casino games to Hollywood Casino in Grantville, PA.
Mountaineer Online Casino
Mountaineer Casino partnered with William Hill for its land-based sportsbook. While William Hill operates a casino in Europe, it has not launched one in the US, nor has there been any discussion of doing so. BetStars might be a possible contender as it seeks entry into the Mountain State.
The Greenbrier Online Casino
Because of its existing relationship with FanDuel, it seems likely The Casino Club at Greenbrier will try to tap Betfair as its online casino provider. Betfair, however, may be looking for a partner that is less exclusive than The Greenbrier.
Wheeling Island Online Casino
Delaware North, the owner of Wheeling Island Casino is currently looking for a new sports betting partner. It would make sense that they would also be looking for an online casino partner. Two front runners could easily be DraftKings Casino and PokerStars Online Casino.
Mardi Gras Online Casino
Mardi Gras Casino is also owned by Delaware North. Providing operations for two online casinos might be enticing enough to lure some other popular casino platforms to the state.
Projected launch dates for WV online casinos
|WV casino||Existing online partner||Projected launch||Application status|
|Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|The Casino Club at The Greenbrier||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|Mardi Gras Casino & Resort||TBD||TBD||TBD|
|Wheeling Island Hotel||TBD||TBD||TBD|
What did the West Virginia online casino bill legalize?
HB 2934, allows WV online casinos to operate games similar to those offered in land-based casinos.
Games such as:
- Table games
- Online poker
- Video Lottery (slots)
Tax rates and licensing fees
The initial version of the bill set the online casino revenue tax at 10%, the same as online sports betting.
However, during the process, some legislators sought higher rates of taxation. Eventually, the law passed with online casino games revenue taxed at 15%.
Online gaming license will cost each operator $250,000 and are valid for five years. Licenses can be renewed for a fee of $100,000.