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Sports betting in West Virginia

West Virginia is one of the liberal states in matters of online gambling. It was the 5th US state to sanction sports betting following in the footprints of Nevada, Deleware, New Jersey, and Missippi.

Unlike most states that waited for the Supreme Court ruling of May 2018, then scrambled to put together the legislation, West Virginia was a frontrunner in legasing sports wagering. Its legislators were busy laying down the legal framework for online sports betting years before the May 2019 ruling. For example, in 2016, the state joined other 19 states to support the State of New Jersey in the famous Christie vs NCAA; the case that finally led to the repeal of the PASPA on May 2019.

Between 2016 and 2017, West Virginia was busy crafting its sports betting bill that would be ready to guide legal sports betting as soon as PAPSA was overturned. The West Virginia legislators passed the West Virginia Lottery Sports Wagering Act on March 9, 2018, two months before the Supreme Court decision that lifted the federal ban on sports betting.

The then governor, Governor Jim Justice, allowed the bill to proceed as it was. He neither vetted or supported it. The bill, popular as the S 415, empowered the State Lottery Commission to draft rules and regulations and issue licenses to the 5 casinos within West Virginia. The S 145 also provided the framework for online and mobile betting and allowed casinos within its jurisdiction to partner with casino games developers.

Some of the licensed bookies in the state include Greenbrier Casino, Mountaineer Casino, Hollywood and more.

Most experts argue that West Virginia legislators legalised sports betting primarily because there was a lot of tax revenue to be made and the state knew this all too well. Here, we examine the history of the legal background of gambling in the Mountain state and probable prospects.



Top 3 Sportsbooks in West Virginia

The legal history of gambling in West Virginia

Amazingly, before the 1990s, gambling in West Virginia was mainly unheard of, save for the occasional and relatively informal pari-mutuel gambling and Horse racing bets.

However, in the last decade of the 20th century, there was a shift, which began with the passing of a law which sanctioned casino gambling. The legalisation of casino gaming saw the main race tracks at the time effectively evolve from being simple racinos into full-fledged casinos.

The main race tracks of the time were Charles Town, Chester, Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras. The race tracks introduced video games, broadcast betting and slot machines in their establishments. However, even with the massive spike in revenue, the establishments still craved to add casino table games, the biggest cash cow of all.

In 2007, they got their wish, when casino table games became legally allowed, and from then on, there was no stopping the casinos. As early as 2008, West Virginia had four legal casinos, and in 2010, it licensed the Greenbrier Hotel and Casino. At this point, the casinos offered poker rooms and even organised tournaments complete with prize money

As aforementioned, 2018 was the watershed year for the West Virginia online gambling and

However, even with the poker games on offer at the casino, poker enthusiasts wished for an even more significant number of social games mainly for the technologically inclined.

West Virginia was the fifth state in the United States to legitimise sports betting in August 2018. After the legalisation, the state was able to immediately take advantage of the legalisation of sports betting by tapping into the NFL season the same year sports betting was approved.

The relevant licences were fast-tracked, thus enabling Hollywood Casino to be the first to make the premier legal sports bet. The Mountaineer’s Casino followed suit and the rest, as they say, is history. Other establishments that offer sport betting services in West Virginia include:

  • FanDuel sportsbook,
  • DraftKings sportsbook.
  • Greenbrier Casino
  • Mardi Gras
  • Wheeling Island Hotel and Casino

The forms of legalised Gambling in West Virginia

In this list, we take a look at the authorised types of gambling as well as those types of gambling that are prospected to come on board soon:

Sports Betting

Sports betting is fully legalised in West Virginia: both pari-mutuel and broadcast betting. Also, both fantasy and betting on sports games and teams are regal.

Casino Games

Following approvals issued in 2007, West Virginia racetrack casinos began offering casino games in 2010. The leading players in this regard comprised of four of the state’s most prominent players.

Live poker

The regulation of live poker games is limited to the games played in the casinos. It does not extend to home poker games.

Other types of games

Thanks to charity Gambling laws, bingo and raffle games continue to thrive in West Virginia. The state also offers lotteries through its approved bars and other regulated outlets.

West Virginia’s Gambling Statistics

No of Commercial Gambling Facilities:Age RequirementsCasino Regulatory Body:Lottery National Rankings:Approx. Annual Gambling RevenueApprox. Annual Gambling Taxes:
Licensed Casinos: 7For lottery bingo, Bingo and racing, participants must be aged 18 and over. But for Video lottery and casino gambling, the minimum age is 21. West Virginia State Gambling Commission22nd $517 million$293 million
Licensed Bingo: 2
Greyhound Tracks: 2
Sports betting Parlors: 2

Prospects

It is encouraging to note that after the repeal by the SCOTUS, West Virginia took an active role in pursuing its sports betting market. Perhaps it was only natural, given that its neighbours such as Mississippi, Delaware, Nevada and New Jersey had made similar steps

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