After six months of legalized sports betting in West Virginia, bettors now can wager at any of the five WV sportsbooks. However, players currently have only one option when it comes to WV mobile sports betting – BetLucky Sportsbook.
The app is a partnership between Delaware North (operator of the Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras casinos) and Miomni Gaming. With plenty of experience in the mobile wagering space, Miomni has experience with major casinos in:
- Online casino gaming
- Sports betting
- Horse race wagering
- Fantasy sports
The company and its casino partners are hoping to harness that experience to bring a nice mobile wagering option to sports bettors in the state.
With a head start in the market, what’s the future for BetLucky?
First to market bodes well for BetLucky
West Virginia sports betting opened its windows in August and properties quickly jumped on the sports betting train.
However, BetLucky didn’t launch until December, offering wagering on all major sports and live wagering on games, as well. There are even European soccer offerings and plenty of futures wagering including the Super Bowl and NCAA basketball national championship.
BetLucky even offers some of the more exotic wagers like the new Alliance of American Football, including futures on the inaugural champion. There may not be a ton of bells and whistles, but the app is easy to use for the wagering experience.
There are a few things that leave room for improvement, though. The biggest is that the app actually closes and appears only to be available during the actual hours the partner casinos’ live sportsbooks are open for business. One of the great things about mobile wagering is that it can be done anytime. Not so, with BetLucky.
This restriction may not be conducive in a more competitive environment with major players moving into the state. The app has had issues with bugs apparently and received only a 2.9 rating out of 5 on the Apple App Store. Other sites have offered above average reviews of the service, however.
BetLucky also lacks some wagering options one might find on other services. For example, in an area where NASCAR is popular, as of Thursday it offered betting on the Daytona 500 and on the Gander RV Duels, which were set for Thursday. However, bettors looking to place a futures bet on the eventual Monster Energy Cup champion will be out of luck.
Surprisingly, the app does offer futures wagering on the Xfinity and Gander Outdoors Trucks, NASCAR’s lower-tier series.
BetLucky better brace for serious competition
While BetLucky can gain market share on its own at the moment, that is changing soon.
DraftKings is working to launch a mobile app soon and just awaiting final regulatory approval to do so. In December, the company announced a partnership with Hollywood Casino at Charles Town to partner in online and mobile sports betting. Its addition to the market could pose a challenge for smaller operators like BetLucky.
Senior vice president of regional operations for Penn National, John Finamore spoke about the partnership in a news release.
“We believe the state will certainly benefit from DraftKings’ tremendous brand awareness and expertise in providing customers a quality online sports betting experience.”
Mountaineer Casino is owned by Eldorado Resorts. It signed a partnership deal in September with William Hill Sportsbook, with plans to bring sports wagering to its 21 properties across the country. It already offers live wagering at the WV casino. Can William Hill mobile sports betting be far behind?
The casino at The Greenbrier is already a partner with FanDuel, which runs a live sportsbook at the property. There’s no word yet if it has plans for a mobile service, but the odds are pretty good it will.
Looking to the future: DraftKings, FanDuel and William Hill
All three companies could bring plenty of brand awareness to West Virginia, and adding market share may come at the expense of smaller operators like BetLucky.
All three are respected names – William Hill in sports betting, and FanDuel and DraftKings in daily fantasy sports and now shifting to focus more on sports betting.
DraftKings and FanDuel currently serve bettors in New Jersey, which may serve as an example of the two companies’ strength. In the Garden State, FanDuel has partnered with Meadowlands and DraftKings with Resorts Casino.
In January, bettors wagered a record $385 million in the state with the two companies leading the market with about $7 million each in vig.
Legal Sports Report notes that the two properties also have partnerships with BetStars and PointsBet, but 90-95 percent of that $7 million total comes from FanDuel and DraftKings. A major percentage of that also comes from mobile wagering.
William Hill has licenses with Monmouth Park and Ocean Resort. It brought in $3.3 million, with almost $2.5 million of that coming from mobile.
While WV sports betting revenue is nowhere at that level, the industry is young, and there is plenty of room for growth.
Can BetLucky carve out a niche and survive?
It may be a challenge, but it will need to earn enough players before the big boys enter the market. Marketing may be critical as well as connecting with players and building some loyalty.
The opportunity is there considering it has two of the state’s five casinos behind it in Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island. Add to the fact that it is a local brand, and BetLucky has some real advantages heading into a more competitive market.
Any missteps or user struggles, however, could be costly. The service may need to up its game a bit as others zero in on the market.