West Virginia was a member of the original wave of post-PASPA sports betting states. West Virginia sportsbooks have been accepting wagers since August 2018, only two months after Delaware became the first non-Nevada state with a sports betting facility. All five of West Virginia’s casinos are home to sportsbooks, and there are now six online sportsbooks available.
The reason behind West Virginia’s early appearance is quite simple. Few states were more vocal in their support for New Jersey’s ongoing court case against the government regarding the federal sports ban. The state has experienced a few ups and downs since launch, including the disastrous closure of BetLucky, a Delaware North brand (now revived as Betly Sportsbook.)
With nearly three years of legal sports betting under its belt, the small Mountaineer State has had an overall good run. Legal Sports Report has a comprehensive guide to West Virginia sports betting.
Legal online sports betting in WV
West Virginia Sports Betting in 2021
|Sportsbook||Casino||Online / Mobile||Retail offered?|
|DraftKings Sportsbook||Hollywood Casino at Charles Town||August 2019||Yes|
|FanDuel Sportsbook||The Greenbrier (private)||August 2019||Yes|
|BetMGM Sportsbook||The Greenbrier (private)||January 2020||No|
|Betly Sportsbook||Mardi Gras/Wheeling Island||August 2020||Yes|
|Caesars Sportsbook||Mountaineer Casino||August 2021||Yes|
|PointsBet Sportsbook||Hollywood Casino at Charles Town||August 2021||No|
Legal sports betting options in West Virginia
If you want to bet on sports in West Virginia, you have a variety of options:
WV sports betting apps
There are currently six online sportsbooks available in the state:
- DraftKings Sportsbook: One of the top betting options in several states, the daily fantasy sports and sportsbook offers a full sports betting app in West Virginia.
- FanDuel Sportsbook: Another DFS company and a top competitor of DraftKings, FanDuel is the leading sportsbook brand across the country right now in terms of amount wagered.
- BetMGM Sportsbook: The app from MGM Resorts International, which operates casinos and sportsbooks around the country, is now live in the state.
- Caesars Sportsbook: Caesars sports betting app arrived in August 2021 after spending time in WV as William Hill. The Caesars app comes equipped with all the bells and whistles of a company with years of experience.
- Betly Sportsbook: Betly marked the online sports betting return for Delaware North, the company that owns the Mardi Gras Casino and Wheeling Island. More than a year after its disastrous flameout with BetLucky, the company launched Betly in September 2020 as the online sportsbook brand for its West Virginia holdings.
- PointsBet Sportsbook: Launching the month before the 2021 NFL season, PointsBet is partnered with the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town. No retail sportsbook is in the plan, but the app is the sixth site available in the state.
Sportsbooks at WV casinos
There are five casinos that can offer WV sports wagering at retail locations
- Hollywood Casino was the first to go live and is the online partner of DraftKings.
- FanDuel is operating the sportsbook at the private resort, The Greenbrier.
- Mountaineer Casino in New Cumberland launched a sportsbook in 2019, but does not have an online platform.
- Mardi Gras Casino and Wheeling Island launched their retail sportsbooks in 2018. They also launched a now-defunct app available via BetLucky.com. After being shuttered for most of 2019, the two properties finally reopened their betting windows in 2020.
Recent WV sports betting news
WV sports betting history
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 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.
Online sports betting began via the BetLucky app as of December 2018. However, BetLucky ceased operations in March 2019 and did not return, which left WV sports betting without an online option. The interruption of service occurred because casino operator Delaware North split with sports betting provider Miomni after the latter’s issues with a third-party vendor caused the BetLucky issue. The problem also temporarily shuttered Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island retail operations.
Mobile wagering did not return to West Virginia until August 2019. In the intervening time, the lottery commission worked to improve its processes and standards regarding regulating online sports betting. Nobody in the state had any intention of repeating the same situation with BetLucky. However, the next two sportsbooks to launch in the state were FanDuel and DraftKings, both of which proved to be more than capable of dealing with the increased standards.
The two DFS titans-turned-sportsbooks were joined in January 2020 by BetMGM, the online sportsbook representing MGM Resorts International. Nine months later, William Hill and Betly joined the Mountain State online market, bringing the total number of online sportsbooks in West Virginia to five. As of March 2021, these five sportsbooks remain the only legal options in the state. Incidentally, the launch of Betly represented the return to good graces for Delaware North, which had to claw its way back from both the BetLucky fiasco and the closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In August 2021, just before a new NFL season, the William Hill app rebranded to Caesars 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?
You can currently bet online via the FanDuel Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook and BetMGM Sports apps in the state. Anyone over the age of 21 can wager.
Hollywood Casino and Mountaineer Casino are the only properties offering sports betting to the public at the moment. The Greenbrier, a private resort, also operates a book.
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 racetrack casinos:
- Hollywood Casino
- Mardi Gras Casino
- Mountaineer Casino
- Wheeling Island
In addition, The Casino Club at The Greenbrier is authorized to conduct many forms of gambling, including sports betting.
Sportsbooks operators can partner with the casinos to offer wagering.
Who can bet on sports in West Virginia?
The legal gambling age in West Virginia is 21.
Is mobile sports betting available in West Virginia?
Yes. Several operators are now up and running with a mobile sports betting app in WV.
West Virginia sports betting timeline
2020: Online sports betting stumbles as pandemic swells
Sports betting in West Virginia began with a boost in the first month of the new year. BetMGM, the online sportsbook for MGM Resorts International, debuted in the state on January 29. At the time, the launch seemed prudent with the upcoming Super Bowl and March Madness betting frenzies.
However, 2020 was destined to be a year like no other in recent memory. The COVID-19 pandemic reached a tipping point and enticed widespread closures and cessations of businesses and events around the world. The Super Bowl occurred as scheduled on February 2, but a month later, March Madness was completely cancelled. The 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo are also postponed. Casinos across the world, including the locations in West Virginia, shut their doors amid fears of spreading the virus.
Unfortunately, with no sports, there could be no sports betting. From March to June, the sports betting industry in the Mountain State malingered, with only sporadic sporting events available for wagering. Obscure sports like Korean baseball and Belarussian soccer became must-bet events, since there wasn’t anything else going on.
Thankfully, all storms end, and most major sports returned or began returning to action in July. Uncoincidentally, sports betting handle for West Virginia’s sportsbooks shot back up. The onset of the NFL season in August also reignited interest from other sportsbook providers. September saw the launch of William Hill and Betly occur, bringing the total number of online books in the state to five. The William Hill app rebranded to Caesars Sportsbook in 2021.
Betly, for its part, represented the full circle for Delaware North. The sportsbooks at Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras once again had an online sportsbook to promote.
2019: The fall and rise of online sports betting
The year began with West Virginia reveling in relative glory. Its casinos each had sportsbooks, and it was one of the only states to offer online sports betting. However, trouble was already brewing.
On March 7, the state’s only online sportsbook, BetLucky, unexpectedly went offline, leaving many sports bettors in the dark about both their accounts and the future of wagering. Parent company Delaware North issued a statement that the cessation of service was due to a dispute between its platform provider, Miomni, and a third-party provider. The outage also affected the retail operations at Mardi Gras Casino and Wheeling Island.
Although the suspension was initially termed temporary, it soon became clear that BetLucky would not be returning to service. Miomni and an external vendor, Entergaming, had become embroiled in a dispute over Miomni’s use of Entergaming intellectual property, which Entergaming alleged to be in breach of the two companies’ agreement. Miomni counterclaimed that Entergaming had inappropriately disabled its service and was inappropriately demanding payment. BetLucky’s fate was sealed on March 29 after Delaware North announced that it was disengaging Miomni as a technology partner.
Thus began several months in 2019 when sports betting became an unreliable source of income for both the casinos and the state itself. At various points, sports betting even represented a losing venture for its operators. Though both regulators and other online companies were scrambling to relaunch the online sports betting market in the state, the entire industry seemed to wither each month, with declining handle a common theme.
Thankfully, FanDuel and DraftKings managed to swoop in to save the day. FanDuel debuted in West Virginia on August 26, and DraftKings on August 28. The launches occurred in just enough time for West Virginia sports bettors to capitalize on the NFL season, which is traditionally the busiest time of the year for sports betting in the US. The launches gave a much-needed boost to the sports betting ledgers in West Virginia, and everyone could finally breathe again.
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. By the end of the year, all five of West Virginia’s casinos have retail sportsbooks active.
Online sports betting began December 27 with the launch of BetLucky. West Virginia officially becomes the third state (after New Jersey (and Nevada)) to offer mobile sports wagering.
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.