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Five months after legalizing sports betting, West Virginia is moving toward the launch of its state-regulated industry with some newfound urgency.
Yesterday, the WV Lottery issued the first interim permit to leading geolocation supplier GeoComply. Today, Penn National Gaming and FanDuel Sportsbook became the first operators to receive permits for WV sports betting.
Penn owns Hollywood Casino Charles Town, which is expected to be the first casino in the state to take a legal wager. According to the lottery, the group has met all requirements for interim licensure. The same can be said for FanDuel, which has a partnership to offer sports betting at The Greenbrier.
Legal Sports Report also learned that Hollywood has entered into a pending supplier partnership with William Hill.
Neither party has yet confirmed the permit or the partnership, so information is still limited.
Hollywood is the largest of the five WV casinos that will be allowed to offer sports betting. It’s also the most conveniently located in relation to the eastern metropolis. The property’s location near Harper’s Ferry puts it less than an hour from Washington, D.C., and Baltimore.
Penn will pay $100,000 for its WV sports betting license, and the state will collect ten percent of revenue in taxes. Expect to see William Hill branding on the retail venue inside of Hollywood. The duo will almost certainly launch an online/mobile platform, as well.
The property is scheduled for a systems test during the last week in August, and the Hollywood sportsbook should open on or before Sept. 1.
Might this be the start of a broader partnership between the two parties?
William Hill is one of the biggest bookmakers in the world, and its US division is well positioned for the early days of expanded sports betting. It is the only company serving all four states with regulated industries:
Add West Virginia to the list, and William Hill has no intentions of slowing down. A recent press release revealed ongoing discussions with another large casino group, one with a presence in at least 14 states. The company declined to specify the group, but the list of potential candidates is not long.
Penn would certainly fit the bill.
Based in Pennsylvania, it will own or operate property in 20 states once its pending acquisition of Pinnacle Entertainment closes. If a William Hill partnership is indeed blossoming, it would seem to derail lingering rumors linking Penn and Scientific Games.