West Virginia Online Casinos Thriving; Sports Betting In WV Hits Odd Lull

Written By Chris Imperiale on October 28, 2020

It’s been a very odd past few weeks in the legal gambling market in West Virginia.

The new online casino industry in the Mountain State continues to perform well. WV sportsbooks, however, are struggling.

Online casinos exceeded $10 million again for the week of Oct. 17. The combination of DraftKings Casino and BetMGM Casino has now seen at least eight figures in handle in nine consecutive weeks.

In total, the two mobile platforms accepted nearly $60 million in bets over the past four weeks. It’s certainly been an impressive launch for WV online casinos.

On the other hand, the sports betting market isn’t doing nearly as well as it should be.

After setting a new record for weekly handle with over $19 million for the week of Sept. 26, handle at sportsbooks is way down.

As a whole, the WV market took in about $35 million in sports wagers during the last three weeks. In the three weeks, prior, the sportsbooks’ handle was more than $50 million.

Since the month of October started, online casinos have beaten WV sportsbooks by about $10 million in handle. In fact, the online casino handle has surpassed sports betting in each of the last three weeks.

While retail sports betting has remained somewhat consistent, online wagering has taken a nosedive. Online sportsbooks saw over $15 million in bets for the week of Sept. 26 but received fewer than $7 million this most recent week.

DraftKings Sportsbook isn’t pulling its weight, although it’s The Greenbrier’s online sports betting apps that have fallen flat.

FanDuel Sportsbook’s and BetMGM Sportsbook’s handle has declined by about 67% over the course of the last month.

Let’s take a deeper look at the betting figures from online casinos and investigate why sportsbooks seem to have hit a trough.

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WV online casinos succeeding

Online casinos started off fast and have not looked back. Since debuting in the middle of July, online casino betting hasn’t dropped below $6 million in weekly handle.

In the 14 weeks since going live, WV online casinos accepted more than $170 million in wagers. This is substantially more than when online sportsbooks released in the state for the first time.

When the second wave of online sports betting emerged in August 2019, online sportsbooks’ handle totaled around $43 million after 14 weeks.

There’s no reason to believe that online casino wagering will slow down. It actually appears that betting might continue to increase.

DraftKings Casino just recently announced that its games library is going to receive a sizable boost. It agreed to a deal with NetEnt to expand the company’s titles into the WV market.

Even though the online casino has added new games frequently since launching in the state, this is a crucial move. NetEnt is well known in the mobile gambling world and has lots of exciting games that will soon be offered in WV.

Besides the current casino apps beefing up, others are sure to join the market, as well. With so much money being wagered in this online market, the other retail casinos in the state are going to want a piece of the action.

Since each retail establishment has the ability to launch three online skins, more online casinos should become available very soon. FanDuel Casino is one of the platforms expected to debut sooner rather than later.

More apps typically is good news for bettors. Competition in the industry allows customers to take advantage of the deals and promotions the apps will feature.

These factors, along with the fact that online wagering is increasing across the US, should mean WV online casinos have a lot more success ahead of them.

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WV online sports betting declines

There are definitely some slow points in the sports calendar, but this shouldn’t be one of them. Both the NFL and college football are right in the middle of their seasons, providing plenty of wagering opportunities over the weekends.

Still, online sports betting hasn’t been remotely the same over the last three weeks.

For the week of Oct. 3, handle was nearly cut in half from its previous performance. Online sportsbooks accepted more than $15.5 million in bets, then followed that up with just about $8.3 million.

If you thought this might just be an aberration, you’d be wrong.

Sports betting figures have also continued to fall in each of the last two weeks. Handle hit around $7.2 million the week of Oct. 10, then fell to just $6.7 million last week.

For the online handle to reduce by 57% in only four weeks is staggering.

This wouldn’t be so noteworthy if there weren’t such popular football markets available every week. Even the WVU Mountaineers are playing great to start the season.

A drop-off in handle could have made sense with the loss of the NHL and NBA markets, but the NBA finals didn’t conclude until Oct. 11.

What’s even more bizarre about this valley is that retail sports betting hasn’t been affected at all.

For the week when online sportsbooks’ handle dropped by over $7 million, retail wagering actually increased. Land-based sportsbooks took in about $500,000 more than the week prior.

Retail betting slightly jumped up again the next week and basically duplicated that production the week of Oct. 17. Retail sportsbooks have seen at least $4 million in handle in each of the last three weeks.

Online sports bets accounted for 81% of the entire WV market for Sept. 26, and now represent just 60% of the total handle this most recent week.

Clearly, this is a trend in the Mountain State, which we’ll have to keep a close eye on going forward.

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Chris Imperiale

Chris Imperiale covers sports betting and the online casino industries. He has a journalism degree from Rutgers University and was formerly on staff at Bleacher Report.

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