Online Poker in West Virginia

True or false: Is online poker legal in West Virginia?

True. But you’d never know it by the lack of online poker options in the state.

If you’re interested in online poker in West Virginia and you’re wondering when something might actually debut, you’ve come to the right place. We have all the latest information about the status of West Virginia online poker. Furthermore, if anything begins to move on the topic, we will have that, too. Read on for the news about online poker in West Virginia.

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Latest word on WV online poker

Online poker has been legal in West Virginia since March 2019. In fact, it became legal in the same piece of legislation that allowed online casinos to launch in the state in 2020.

At this point, the word from regulators is that they are waiting for online poker rooms to express interest. The rooms are almost certainly hesitant because of West Virginia’s low population, but they might conceivably become more engaged if West Virginia signs on with the Multi-State Internet Gaming Association.

Online poker has remained legal-but-not-launched for more than three years. Because online poker is a game that requires human players, West Virginia’s low population likely doesn’t offer enough action to justify a site’s debut. Only through a partnership with other states does a launch become more likely.

WV online poker at a glance

Although no online poker sites operate in West Virginia at the moment, here is a snapshot of everything related to WV online poker.

Is online poker legal in West Virginia?Yes. It has been legal since 2019.
What poker sites have launched in West Virginia?Not so far.
When might poker sites launch in the state?No earlier than 2023, and probably later.
What sites are most likely to launch?PokerStars and BetMGM Poker
How old would I have to be to play?21 or older.

Potential WV online poker sites

At this point, discussing the online poker sites that are likely to launch in West Virginia is complete conjecture. There is no major affirmative movement from any company or a government body to suggest that a debut is around the corner. Thus, the sites below are our estimates based on their connections to the state and/or their affinity for operating in other states.

BetMGM Poker

  • Chance of launch: Probable

BetMGM Poker is one of the likelier candidates to launch in West Virginia because of its connection to the state and its deep pockets. MGM has an existing partnership with The Greenbrier for sports betting and online casino games, and integrating online poker into its app or site seems to be a natural move. Plus, if West Virginia were to join the MSIGA, BetMGM could combine its WV player pool with the ones for BetMGM and Borgata in New Jersey.

PokerStars

  • Chance of launch: Probable

The other potential online poker site to launch in West Virginia — should sites begin to launch — is PokerStars. It has long been one of the top online poker options in the world and within the United States. Its parent company, Flutter Entertainment, has an existing relationship with The Greenbrier Resort, and the dynamic combination of FanDuel and PokerStars that the company could offer West Virginians would likely be a winner for the sites.

Other sites that may launch

While the two sites above are the clear frontrunners to debut online poker in West Virginia if it ever comes to pass, there are some other sites that might look towards the state if online poker begins to move.

  • WSOP.com – WSOP.com is the face of the world’s most famous poker tournament series and is nearly-synonymous with the game itself. It is owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment, which does not have a presence in West Virginia at this time. However, WSOP.com has the most experience in the US with operating in a multi-state context of any online poker site, so it might have an experiential advantage on the other potential apps.
  • partypoker – partypoker is an old-school app that traces its roots back to the early days of the 2000s poker boom. It reemerged into legitimacy a few years back and is owned by Entain, the large multinational gaming corporation. Although partypoker might seem a good fit for West Virginia, Entain may not choose to pursue it due to the fact that the company is also a partner in BetMGM Poker.

WV online poker law

Online poker became legal under the same piece of legislation that allowed online casinos to launch in West Virginia. HB 2934 became law in March 2019 and paved the way for West Virginia to expand its gambling profile into interactive wagering. Though the language of the law did not specifically mention poker, the statute’s verbiage is almost intentionally vague enough to allow no serious challenges about whether it covers poker.

Interestingly, the law does mention that it gives the West Virginia Lottery, the de facto gambling commission in the state, the ability to enter into agreements with other jurisdictions. For online poker, it paves the way for West Virginia to join the MSIGA.

Multi-State Internet Gaming Association

“MSIGA” stands for Multi-State Internet Gaming Association. It is a group of states that have signed an agreement to share their player pools across state lines.

Betting across state lines has been a contentious issue for decades in the US. The Wire Act, a 1961 law to combat organized crime by making interstate sports betting illegal, remains an active and enforced federal statute to this day. Federal law enforcement has attempted to expand the Wire Act’s reach to encompass online gambling on multiple occasions, but this assertion has been rejected in court as of September 2022.

Thus, Michigan’s recent addition to the group and the potential for West Virginia to join the MSIGA remains a distinct possibility. In all likelihood, West Virginia’s entry into the association would precede the debut of online poker in the state.

WV online poker games

If one or more online poker sites launch in West Virginia, people in the state will find numerous options for games that they can play. These games are available in a variety of limits, potentially from pennies to thousands of dollars per hand.

You can also find multiple formats online, including cash games, tournaments, and sit and go’s. There are fast-fold games, which allow you to move to a new hand as soon as you fold or the hand on a previous table ends. There are also jackpot sit and go’s, which are hyper-turbo three-person tournaments that are winner-take-all and offer a chance at massive payouts.

Within those frameworks, you can find the following games online:

  • No Limit Texas Hold’em
  • Pot Limit Omaha
  • Limit Texas Hold’em
  • Omaha Hi-Lo (Eight or Better)
  • Seven Card Stud
  • Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo
  • Razz
  • Badugi
  • Short Deck
  • Pineapple
  • Crazy Pineapple
  • Mixed

Not every game will be available on each site. In fact, the only certain game on online poker sites is No Limit Texas Hold’em. Some sites will offer Pot Limit Omaha, but not all of them will. Only the biggest sites will have the games below PLO on the list.

There may also be games that we don’t list here. Some sites — PokerStars, in particular — create their own games or variants from time to time.

Live poker in WV

While West Virginians are waiting for online poker to launch in the state, they do have some options for playing in person. Four of the land-based casinos in West Virginia are home to poker rooms.

Not all of the rooms are the same, of course. They might only have a couple of tables set aside. There may not be a wide selection of games running. Nevertheless, here are the legal live poker options in WV:

One source of disappointment is the permanent closure of the poker room at the Mountaineer Casino in New Cumberland. At one time, the facility offered as many as 37 tables, but the room never came back after closing due to COVID-19, and it doesn’t seem as though it will.

WV Online Poker FAQs

Yes. Online poker became legal in West Virginia in 2019.

None right now.

No sooner than 2023, and likely much later. At the moment, there is no indication that a launch is near.

No. Sites like America’s Cardroom and Bovada operate from outside the United States and do not fall under US laws and regulations whatsoever. Playing on those sites could cause you a host of problems and leave you with very little recourse.

Possibly, as poker room operators have indicated that West Virginia will have to join the MSIGA for them to launch there. It seems likely that online poker sites in West Virginia will go hand-in-hand with interstate play.

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