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A second casino joined West Virginia sports betting this week, but don’t expect to place wagers there anytime soon.
The Greenbrier, a private resort owned by the family of Gov. Jim Justice, opened its FanDuel Sportsbook in time for football’s second full week. West Virginia sports betting began two weeks ago when Penn National launched it at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town.
The Greenbrier bills itself as “America’s only private casino” and memberships start at $1,749 per year. The resort’s limited foot traffic likely ranks as secondary for FanDuel Sportsbook, though. The end game is mobile and online sports betting via The Greenbrier’s casino license.
The largely rural landscape of West Virginia makes betting via smartphone and computer an appealing option. Temporary regulations approved by the state lottery, which administers West Virginia sports betting, permit up to three online licensees via each gaming license.
FanDuel Sportsbook released its mobile app last week for New Jersey sports betting, so the technology is ready to expand to West Virginia. Penn National is partnered with William Hill for its West Virginia sports betting operation, and regulators expect another three casinos to launch sports wagering within 2018.
Geolocation technology will ensure that bettors are located within the borders of West Virginia when wagering. Bettors also can register remotely for an account, unlike in Nevada, where in-person registration is required.
West Virginia legislators anticipated the potential for sports betting earlier this year and legalized it pending federal approval. When the Supreme Court struck down PASPA in May, the path to legal sports betting appeared clear.
It would not be so simple. Justice, who allowed the sports betting law to go into effect in March without his signature, fought through summer to include integrity fees for pro leagues. Legislators specifically excluded those fees from the law despite heavy lobbying from MLB and the NBA, though. They ultimately rebuffed repeated pushes by Justice to reopen the legislation.
Each casino that launches West Virginia sports betting will pay a $100,000 license fee. The state will collect 10 percent of sports betting revenue for its coffers as well.
The opening weekend of West Virginia sports betting proved legislators’ faith to be correct. With only Hollywood Casino operating, the single book took $340,000 in wagers, many of them football bets on the home-state West Virginia Mountaineers.
That quick start bodes well for the addition of The Greenbrier and FanDuel Sportsbook, especially once the mobile and online door opens.