Another week has gone by without online sports betting in West Virginia. Once again, sports bettors hopes were dashed when DraftKings Sportsbook failed to flip the switch.
Just as Clara Peller yelled, “Where’s the beef?” all those years ago, sports bettors in WV are wondering, “Where’s the online betting?”
Expectations were set high a few weeks ago when WV Lottery Director John Myers announced DraftKings had passed all of its tests and could launch a mobile betting app following week. That week was last week.
Once the news hit, bettors started downloading the app getting ready for the big day. Subtle changes were noticed, like the addition of Hollywood Casino Sportsbook to its partner’s page and a West Virginia-specific bonus offer.
One bettor tweeted he has been trying to deposit every single day with the hope that one day it would be successful.
Try making a deposit every day, waiting for the one day that it asks me for my credit card number
— Dr. P (@mpaterno801) May 29, 2019
Bettors first started looking forward to betting on DraftKings for the Super Bowl. Then it was March Madness. And now, the NBA finals.
All three have come, and two have gone. It’s not too late to get in on some NBA betting action, though, with at least three more games left in the NBA season. The question on everyone’s mind is if DraftKings WV Sportsbook will make it in time.
It’s no fun sitting on the bench
Probably unrelated, but still interesting, the WV Lottery did not release the latest weekly sports betting revenue numbers on Sunday.
Maybe they are waiting for DraftKings to launch too. And while we’re waiting, the sports betting world marches on.
Last week was a busy week in the sports betting world.
Illinois approved sports betting legislation and Pennsylvania launched its first online sportsbook.
Adding insult to injury, as we enter a slow betting season, a few prime sporting events are taking place:
- NBA finals
- NHL playoffs
- French Open
Then there is probably the biggest news of the week. The Federal Court issued its ruling on the Department of Justice’s 2018 reinterpretation of the Wire Act. The court vacated the opinion. The ruling by US District Court Judge Paul Barbadoro states:
“I hereby declare that § 1084(a) of the Wire Act… applies only to transmissions related to bets or wagers on a sporting event or contest,” Barbadoro wrote to conclude his decision. “The 2018 OLC Opinion is set aside.”
The new interpretation didn’t directly impact sports betting because the 2011 opinion already applied to sports betting. It did, however, create a level of uncertainty that kept the relaunch of new online sportsbooks in West Virginia on hold for a while.
While there is still work to be done, the ruling should calm the Lottery’s fears about launching new online sportsbooks and online casino gambling, which the WV legislature approved a few months ago.
What’s the holdup?
DraftKings is keeping tight-lipped about its plans.
PlayWV.com reached out to the company after the Lottery’s statement. The company appeared less sure about an imminent launch:
“We can confirm DraftKings has been taking part in the required testing phase. We do not have any firm date yet on next steps, including a soft launch or full public launch in West Virginia. Will keep you updated along the way.”
DraftKings seems to be ready to launch, soon, however. A bettor got in touch with DraftKings after there was some mix up as he tried to deposit. DraftKings responded.
— Chris McPherson (@ThatsLudaChris1) May 31, 2019
We’re holding you to the “very near future” timeframe, DraftKings. WV sports betting needs you, and we’re ready when you are.
Downloaded app. I am ready pic.twitter.com/MdwTBmV1Aa
— Mark (@juw24620889) May 30, 2019