Is The WV Sports Betting Market Ready To Grow Again?

Posted on November 25, 2019

There were some interesting developments following the Nov. 20 meeting of the West Virginia Lottery Commission, the regulating body for sports betting in the Mountain State.

John Myers, the director of the WV Lottery, alluded to the fact that the three West Virginia casinos with active sportsbooks are moving toward offering additional online sportsbooks.

West Virginia sports betting law allows for each casino to partner with three sports betting providers.

Myers explained to WV Metro News that added online sportsbooks and mobile sports betting apps will benefit bettors and casinos.

“You can have DraftKings, William Hill and FanDuel all at one casino if they want to work together.”

Myers said that more betting options provide bettors a choice of where to bet. That choice often leads to innovation and better promotions to attract new customers.

When will more online sportsbooks launch in West Virginia?

Currently, West Virginia only has two online sportsbooks:

Additionally, William Hill, the company that provides retail sports betting operations to Hollywood Casino and Mountaineer Casino, was approved to offer online sports betting earlier this year.

At this time, there isn’t any indication of when the William Hill online sportsbook will launch.

In fact, Myers admitted that the WV Lottery has not yet received any new service provider applications. Even so, he is confident the casinos are moving in that direction.

Surely, interest in launching additional online sportsbooks in WV is growing as the online betting handle continues to thrive.

In fact, for the week ending Nov. 9, online handle surpassed retail handle for the first time.

It is true; online betting took longer to overcome retail handle than it did in other states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Even so, its percentage of the total handle has grown each week.

In October, The three active sportsbooks plus the two WV online sports betting apps earned over $3 million and paid $306,000 in taxes to the state.

Wait, what about Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island?

Both Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island sports betting windows remain closed as a result of a dispute with its sports betting provider, Miomni.

The BetLucky betting app that served both sportsbooks also remains offline in West Virginia, although it is still operational elsewhere, in Nevada, for instance.

While Mardi Gras Casino held a grand reopening of its casino last week, that celebration did not include the reopening of its sportsbook.

The casino’s owner, Delaware North, has not provided the WV Lottery with any information about the status of its lawsuits or its return to the Mountain State’s sports betting market.

Other WV gambling news from the latest meeting

While no new sports betting platforms were approved, the WV Lottery did approve three sports betting suppliers:

  • IMG Arena US
  • Novamatic Gaming Solutions
  • Wordplay Gaming Solutions

Myers also reported on West Virginia Lottery revenues. Year to date, its revenue is nearly $42 million above projected earnings for the year. However, that figure is 4% below the same period last year.

Myers speculated as to the reason for the year-over-year decline. He believes the lack of massive Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots could be the reason for the lower-than-expected sales.

The next meeting of the WV Lottery Commission is Dec. 18. We will have to wait until then before we know if any new sports betting providers submit applications for a license.

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Kim Yuhl

Kim Yuhl has over five years of experience writing about poker culture, the online gambling industry, and more recently, the legalization of sports betting.

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