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Sports betting is officially live in West Virginia!
Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races took the first bet on Thursday morning, a couple days earlier than planned for the launch of WV sports betting. Staff from the WV Lottery Commission were first to divulge the good news on Twitter.
That ticket makes West Virginia the fifth state with legalized sports betting and the fourth to launch since May. Former NFL player Joe Theismann will be at the Hollywood sportsbook this weekend for the grand opening ceremonies.
The inaugural bet was placed before noon on Thursday, and the team listed on the ticket shouldn’t surprise anyone. Stakeholders expect betting on Marshall and West Virginia University to drive a significant chunk of the action this fall. A $50 futures bet on WVU to win the National Championship currently pays out $3,050 at 60-1 odds.
Those odds are provided by William Hill, which serves as the management services provider for Hollywood. The duo was the first to receive interim licensure earlier this month.
Regulators began testing systems at the casino on Monday, and the process must have gone better than anticipated. Hollywood bumped its scheduled Saturday launch forward by two full days, making it the first WV casino to book a legal wager.
“We are pumped!” said Danielle Boyd, managing general counsel for the lottery. “It’s been a long road.”
West Virginia was the very first state to legalize sports betting in 2018, passing its law two months before the US Supreme Court ruling that activated it. The other states where it’s legal:
And then there were five.
FanDuel Sportsbook will almost certainly be next to launch in WV. It will provide retail sports betting at The Greenbrier, and its online/mobile application is in the final stages of development. Keep an eye out around the middle of September, tentatively.
Its primary competitor, DraftKings Sportsbook, has also secured its license while it shops around for a casino partner. Regulations allow each of the five WV properties to partner with as many as three online brands.
Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras casinos are both owned by Delaware North, which has secured its interim license, too. The move signals the group’s intentions to offer WV sports betting, but its roadmap is still a mystery for now.
Mountaineer Casino is the fifth one allowed to offer sports betting, though it had not applied as of early this week. Regulators, however, say they expect to receive the paperwork from owner Eldorado Resorts shortly. Eldorado hasn’t confirmed its partner yet, either, but it does have an existing relationship with William Hill in other markets.
If things break right, all five WV casinos could be offering sports betting by the end of the year.