Sports betting has been active in West Virginia since the end of August 2018. Since then, the volume of–and opportunity for–sports betting in the Mountain State is earning revenue for the state, albeit slowly.
Through Oct. 13, sports betting generated $237,443 for the state’s portion of revenue. That figure represents 10 percent of the overall revenue, which is the mandated tax rate for sports betting in the state.
That figure pales in comparison to the contribution from state lottery proceeds. According to the Charleston Gazette-Mail, statements in the Oct. 23 Lottery Commission meeting revealed that the state gained over $41 million from traditional and scratch-off lottery sales.
The modest numbers from sports betting might give pause to both external and internal observers of the new offering’s progress. However, sports betting proponents might argue that sports betting’s value to the state is its ability to drive tourism traffic to the state.
West Virginia sports betting still in its infancy
It’s important to remember that there are just two casinos that offer sports betting in West Virginia at this point. The sportsbook at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town is barely a month into operation, and the FanDuel Sportsbook at The Casino Club at Greenbrier Resort has been open for business even less time than that.
Two other casinos are still trying to get their operations off the ground. According to lottery officials, Mardi Gras Casino and Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack are just beginning to start field testing their sportsbooks.
The debuts of the books at these two casinos continue to suffer delays. A tentative plan to open by October derailed due (in part) to a new partnership between parent company Delaware North and software provider Miomni.
Furthermore, none of the five casinos in the state have any type of mobile sports betting available to customers. Bettors must be physically located in the sportsbooks to place their wagers.
For its part, Delaware North is planning a simultaneous debut of both its retail and online sports betting operations. Lottery officials expect the launch to occur sometime in November.
There is no concrete date for the debuts of apps at Hollywood Casino or the Greenbrier, either. Hollywood Casino management has indicated that its mobile platform is forthcoming, but there have been no firm promises about the timing.
The Racing Commission thinks racing would help sportsbooks, obviously
Earlier on Oct. 23, the West Virginia Racing Commission met for its monthly hearing. In that meeting, racing officials opined that the four racetrack casinos should put parimutuel betting kiosks into their sportsbooks.
“Gamblers want action,” said Commissioner Ken Lowe. “This, in my opinion, needs to be done.”
So far, the only foray into this idea has occurred at Hollywood Casino. The sportsbook has implemented two betting kiosks and an information machine, but all three have been temperamental in their operations.
Whether management at the other racetracks considers the idea viable or just noise remains to be seen. Quite frankly, it’s proving to be a monumental effort just to take a sports bet of any kind.