As it stands, gambling in West Virginia is completely legal. The state allows you to visit any licensed gambling sites, whether online or at a physical location. Although gambling is generally permitted in West Virginia, the WV Code, Section 61-10 prohibits participating in unlicensed games. But there is a clause because online gambling was not mentioned in the code. Therefore, it is hard to tell if it applies to online betting, and since there is no record of any player arrested or prosecuted, there is no court interpretation to follow. In terms of age, there are two minimum gambling ages. For lottery games, racing, and bingo, the minimum age is 18. And, for sports betting and casino-style games, the minimum age is 21.
West Virginia Code for Gambling
When it comes to gambling in West Virginia, different codes of conduct help regulate gambling. Each code governs various aspects that concern betting in WV—starting from the general powers of the governing body and every municipality to conducting a bucket shop. Below we have highlighted some of the West Virginia codes for gambling.
Code 8-12-5 General Powers of Each Municipality and the Governing Body Thereof
This code gives every municipality and governing body the plenary power and authority to convict, punish, and arrest any person found breaking the gambling laws. So, the governing body in the state has the full force of the law to convict anyone in possession of private gaming tables or machines. Or anyone that is organizing private gambling events for money.
Code 55-9-2 Recovery of Money or Lost Property in Gaming
This code gives persons who lose their money or property in the sum of $10 and above the chance to reclaim said loss. However, it only covers the recovery for up to 24 hours. Once it is above 24 hours, there is little to no chance of reclaiming the loss from the other party. Also, this code only applies to people who lose during a private betting event.
Code61-10-6 Permitting Gaming at Hotels; Penalty
If a hotel operator/manager allows unlawful gambling at their premise and is caught, they will be guilty of a misdemeanor. Upon conviction, they would be fined at least $20 but not more than $100. In addition to that, they will lose their license and shall provide security for good behavior for up to a year. If they default, they can then be imprisoned in the county jail for up to 4 months.
Code 61-10-9 Cheating at Gaming; Penalty
In the case that someone at a gambling table or betting site is caught cheating or by fraudulent means win or gather for themselves, they would be guilty of a misdemeanor. Upon conviction, this code states that they would have to serve a jail term of not more than a year. Aside from that, they would be fined 5x the value of the money or anything they won or acquired during the game.
Code 61-10-11b Unlawful Possession of "Policy" or "Numbers" Slips
This code penalizes anybody who is not a public officer in possession of any writing, document, or paper that represents the record of share or interest in numbers given away, sold, drawn, or picked in what is popularly called numbers or policy, would be prosecuted and convicted prison for at least two years.
Online gambling laws in West Virginia
As of March 27, 2019, the state of West Virginia legislators officially passed the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act, which made casino gaming and sports betting legal in the state. But it was June 7 of the same year that the bill went into effect. In addition to that, it was not until early 2020 that the regulatory framework for these new kinds of gambling became ready. Although the bill permits playing at online casinos and betting on sports in West Virginia, you should keep in mind that it does not permit play on offshore sites.
In the West Virginia gambling law, gambling is defined as "betting or wagering cash or anything of value on any game of luck or knowingly offering money or something with value for another to place a bet on sports or any game of chance." This definition completely covers all unauthorized online games. In that case, if you place any unlawful or illegal bets, you will be convicted of a misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of between $5 and $100. Also, you might need to provide security for good behavior for up to one year. If you default, you can be in jail for up to four months.
West Virginia Casino Laws
Playing at casinos has been legal for a while now in West Virginia. However, as we pointed out in the history of gambling in the West Virginia section, betting on races was the first regulated gambling in the state. However, since 2008, casinos in West Virginia are now allowed to provide table games to players. According to this state's casino law, the legal gambling age is 21. In terms of smoking, there is no nationwide ban on smoking. However, casinos like Mardi Gras Casino and Mountaineer Casino are affected by the county ban. Greenbrier Casino, on the other hand, has an in-house no smoking policy.
West Virginia Poker Laws
In West Virginia, poker is legal. However, before you can play poker, you will need to visit a properly licensed Virginia casino. If you are not close to any of the casinos in the state, you can easily go online to join an online casino that is legal in West Virginia. The reason is that you are not permitted to play at any online casinos that do not have a license or land-based backing in the state. The penalty for gambling at offshore casinos without a license in West Virginia can be as bad as spending up to a year in jail.
Sports Betting Laws in West Virginia
When it comes to betting at a sportsbook in West Virginia, the law is very similar to the casino law. According to the law, you have to be 18 or more before participating in sports betting in West Virginia. Additionally, you should only bet on sports at WV online sportsbooks. The reason is that betting at an offshore betting site is prohibited in the state. If caught, you will need to pay a certain fine. In addition to the fine, there is a chance that you might be convicted to serve time in prison.
Other Gambling Laws in West Virginia
If you want to try lotteries, bingo, or even daily fantasy sports, you need to keep in mind a few gambling laws. For a start, you need to understand that in West Virginia, playing the lottery and bingo is completely legal. Unlike the casino law, you simply need to be 18 or over to be eligible to participate in the lottery and bingo games. This also applies to playing daily fantasy sports. However, there are penalties for participating in private bingo and lottery games. The reason is that only licensed operators are permitted to offer players bingo games and lotteries.