West Virginia Sports Betting

West Virginia officially became the fifth US state to offer legal sports betting in August 2018, following Mississippi, New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada.

The state enacted a sports betting law in March 2018 that took effect in the wake of a US Supreme Court decision to repeal the federal ban known as PASPA. Nevada no longer holds a US monopoly on single-game wagering, and others are free to legalize and regulate the activity at their discretion.

WV has done that. Lawmakers acted in anticipation of a favorable ruling, and their bet was paid off with a nearly finished product posed for licensure. Their state is among the very first to offer residents a regulated sports gambling platform.

Recent WV sports betting news

Legal sports betting basics in West Virginia

West Virginia legalized sports betting in March 2018, and the law became active with the SCOTUS decision in May.

The WV Lottery Commission, which regulates the industry, got right to work drafting rules for casinos and suppliers. They indicated a desire to approve operations in time for the 2018-19 NFL season, a goal which they ultimately met.

Hollywood Casino at Charles Town took the first bets during its soft launch on Aug. 30, with a full launch on Sept. 1. Former NFL player Joe Theismann will be on hand for the opening ceremonies. Hollywood is currently the only WV casino that offers sports wagering, with operations powered by William Hill.

We only know one other casino that has a sports betting deal: The Greenbrier has agreed to work with daily fantasy sports operator FanDuel. Learn more about FanDuel Sportsbook.

West Virginia sports betting FAQ

Is sports betting legal in West Virginia?

Yes, WV sports betting became active law upon repeal of PASPA.

Who oversees West Virginia sports betting?

The West Virginia Lottery Commission oversees the state’s sports betting industry.

Where can I bet on sports in West Virginia?

Hollywood Casino is the only property offering sports betting at the moment.

The law allows sports betting at the state’s five existing gambling facilities and on mobile devices, all of which should come to market over the coming months.

Who can apply for a West Virginia sports betting license?

The state’s five casinos and racinos can accept wagers on sporting events.

West Virginia has four race-track casinos:

  • Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races
  • Mardi Gras Casino and Resort Cross Lanes
  • Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort
  • Wheeling Island Hotel

In addition, the The Casino Club at The Greenbrier is authorized to conduct many forms of gambling, including sports betting.

So far, everyone except for Mountaineer is applied and approved.

Who can bet on sports in West Virginia?

The legal gambling age in West Virginia is 21.

Will mobile sports betting be available in West Virginia?

Yes.

West Virginia sports betting timeline

2018: State enacts sports betting bill, stiff-arms leagues

Delegate Shawn Fluharty reintroduced his 2017 effort once again in 2018. This time, his bill was backed up by a matching one in the Senate, S 106. Both bills started the year in their respective Judiciary Committees.

It was a third bill that ended up moving, though.

S 415 was introduced at the behest of the state lottery commission, and it was more comprehensive than related bills. It set the licensing and renewal fee at $100,000 and shifts the tax rate to 10 percent of revenue, a manageable number for operators.

The Senate passed the bill in February, and the House passed it quickly thereafter, becoming the first state legislature to do so in 2018. A matching House bill  (H 4396) had already cleared a committee hearing, paving the path to passage in the lower chamber.

As the chatter built, the NBA and MLB hired lobbyists to push their agenda in WV. The leagues began to support sports betting legislation, but only if it that met their list of five demands. One of those demands asks operators to pay leagues one percent of the total amount wagered, or handle, as an integrity fee.

Gov. Jim Justice allowed the bill to become law without his signature in March.

Hollywood Casino took the first legal bet on Aug. 30.

2017: First WV sports betting bills appear, study commissioned

In March 2017, Fluharty introduced H 2751.

The bill moved to add language to the state’s constitution that would legalize and regulate sports betting at WV casinos. It was the state’s first bill on the topic.

Fluharty’s bill charged the Lottery Commission with oversight of the state’s sports betting industry. It would allow betting on professional sports and most collegiate sports, taxing the total handle at two percent.

The bill also produced a so-called “legislative finding” affirming that the federal government has no authority to prohibit sports betting in WV. It declared that the decision to legalize sports betting lies in the states’ hands. The finding reads, in part:

Sports pool betting… in the state is owned by the state and therefore the right to conduct sports pool betting may be licensed by the Lottery Commission…

As further evidence of its intentions, the state paid $160,000 to commission a 2017 study on the prospects of legal sports betting.

Backstory: Standing with New Jersey

West Virginia has long stood in support of New Jersey in its own attempts to legalize sports betting.

State AG Patrick Morrissey filed amicus curiae briefs in both of the NJ sports betting cases, expressing the perceived threat to state sovereignty and core principles of federalism. The subsequent WV sports betting bills included a direct challenge to PASPA and federal overreach.

From H 2751:

Whereas our State Attorney General is challenging the usurpation of the federal government of state authority to regulate sports pool betting and has articulated in the briefs of the State of West Virginia in Cristie v. NCAA,  16-476, U.S. Supreme Court, that the U.S. Congress has no power to prevent state governments from authorizing sports betting as a form of gaming and therefore, the Legislature finds that it is reasonable and appropriate, for the State of West Virginia to proceed with legalizing sports pool betting pursuant to this article.

It’s strong language that is not present in most other sports betting bills around the county.