The Wheeling casino unveiled the new facility to give patrons a place to watch their favorite sporting events. The bar features a large wall of television screens and an informational ticker underneath.
The bar’s appearance, which resembles a sportsbook without betting, is not an accident.
“We aren’t quite ready for people to place sports bets, but this space is ready for people to enjoy college football over the weekend,” general manager Kim Florence told WTOV9.
Florence called the bar the next step towards betting in West Virginia. The debut concluded several weeks of construction.
Wheeling Island gearing up for sports betting
There is no question that Wheeling Island is planning to focus on sports betting. This new venue is in the very center of the casino.
WTOV also reported that Wheeling Island recently hosted a job fair for new workers. The casino is hiring those workers specifically for sports betting.
At this point, however, the property’s only holdup is logistical. The state approved the venue for sports betting last month.
The potential is too large to ignore
Wheeling Island officials were giddy about moving towards sports betting. Their excitement is no surprise after Hollywood Casino Charles Town‘s early results.
Hollywood Casino soft-launched its sportsbook on Aug. 30, and officially opened on Sept. 1. In the first four days of service, the property accepted $640,000 in wagers.
However, the casino’s hold from those days was roughly 50 percent. That figure is probably why Wheeling Island officials seem more motivated than ever before, although that pace is not going to last, and is mostly due to accounting in WV sports betting.
Nevada sportsbooks only tend to keep about five percent of their betting volume.
Wheeling Island may be in just the right spot
Wheeling Island’s location also bodes well for sports betting at the property. As its name implies, the casino is located on an island in the Ohio River, straddling the border between West Virginia and Ohio.
That location places the casino within two hours of both Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Columbus, Ohio. Wheeling Island could serve as the central point for sports betting for the entire region.
Of course, Pennsylvania and Ohio could always legalize sports betting themselves. Pennsylvania should open its first sportsbooks before the year ends.
However, there is an inherent advantage to being first to market. Wheeling Island can stake its claim if it can move things along. We shall see.