West Virginia legalized sports betting in March 2018. The first sportsbook in the state is open as of August.
When the law passed, the state had no hope of offering sports betting to inhabitants as long as the federal ban on sports betting remained in place. However, in May 2018, the US Supreme Court voted to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or PASPA, as unconstitutional.
As a result, the West Virginia law became active and relevant.
West Virginia sports betting locations
Sports betting is legal in West Virginia, and state officials are still finalizing regulations and issuing licenses.
As of Aug. 30, Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races became the first legal sportsbook in the state and is now accepting wagers.
There are four other locations that could potentially offer sports betting soon:
- The Casino Club at The Greenbrier
- Mardi Gras Casino and Resort Cross Lanes
- Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort
- Wheeling Island Hotel
Of the four, The Casino Club at The Greenbrier has the inside track to be next to market in West Virginia. The Greenbrier, which maintains the only private casino in America, partnered with daily fantasy sports titan FanDuel Group in June 2018 to operate its sports betting facility.
On Aug. 10, the West Virginia Lottery Commission granted interim sports betting permits to Penn National and FanDuel.
Mobile sports betting is also legal under the law. Anyone within state lines will be able to wager on sports once the regulatory and operator hurdles go away.
West Virginia sports betting FAQ
How long before I can bet sports in West Virginia?
You can now bet at Hollywood Casino, with more on the way.
Who oversees sports betting in West Virginia?
The West Virginia Lottery Commission is the oversight body for sports betting in the state.
How old must I be to bet sports in West Virginia?
You must be 21 to bet sports in West Virginia, as that is the statewide gambling age.
Are daily fantasy sports legal in West Virginia?
Yes. You can play with almost every daily fantasy sports operator in West Virginia.
In case there’s any confusion, the West Virginia attorney general firmly declared the legality of daily fantasy sports in 2016.
West Virginia sports betting history
Sports betting became legal in all the states due to a lawsuit involving the state of New Jersey. However, West Virginia has backed up New Jersey’s claims almost universally.
In fact, West Virginia may be the only state whose sports betting law specifically and vehemently rebuked the federal ban. Here is a section from a 2017 law, H 2751:
Whereas our State Attorney General is challenging the usurpation of the federal government of state authority to regulate sports pool betting and has articulated in the briefs of the State of West Virginia in Christie v. NCAA, 16-476, U.S. Supreme Court, that the U.S. Congress has no power to prevent state governments from authorizing sports betting as a form of gaming and therefore, the Legislature finds that it is reasonable and appropriate, for the State of West Virginia to proceed with legalizing sports pool betting pursuant to this article.
This kind of directed vitriol is unusual, particularly in the actual text of a bill. However, the combination of a favorable legislature and aggressive attorney general meant that the Mountain State quickly adopted sports betting laws into the record.
Rep. Shawn Fluharty reintroduces a sports betting bill in early January. State Sen. Stephen Baldwin files a matching bill, S 106, in the Senate. Neither bill passes, but the ball is rolling.
Later that month, State Senator Ryan Ferns files S 415. This bill set the license fee at $100,000 and established that sports betting would be taxed at ten percent of revenue.
The bill quickly passed through both chambers of the legislature. Gov. Jim Justice allowed the bill to become law without his signature, and thus, West Virginia became a sports betting state on March 3, 2018.
In March, Fluharty introduces H 2751, which includes the acidic section above. The bill fails to pass, but succeeds in stirring up the conversation.
In September, the state commissions a $160,000 feasibility study regarding legal sports betting in West Virginia. The study finds that 30 states will eventually legalize sports betting, which emphasized that the importance of timing for legalizing sports betting in the Mountain State.
State Attorney General Patrick Morissey files numerous amicus curiae briefs in support of New Jersey’s federal lawsuit against PASPA.