MGM’s Online Casino Launches In West Virginia Market, Joining DraftKings

The BetMGM online casino entered its second state on Thursday with the launch of wagering in West Virginia, joining rival DraftKings.
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The BetMGM online casino gambling platform is live in the state of West Virginia, MGM Resorts said Thursday. The launch marks the BetMGM Casino’s second state, following its digital debut in New Jersey.

The casino platform, a joint venture between MGM’s Roar Digital and GVC Holdings, launched with 30 games, including table games and slots. Peer-to-peer online poker wasn’t part of the roll-out.

According to a presser, the BetMGM Casino product isn’t yet a stand-alone app, as it’s under a “dedicated tab” within the previously launched BetMGM Sports West Virginia mobile app.

“The addition of the leading iGaming offering in West Virginia is a powerful differentiator for BetMGM,” BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt said. “With the largest slate of casino games in the state, we’re confident that our superior offering will quickly become the online gaming destination of choice for players.”

The gambling platform is accessible on both iOS and Android phones and via web browser on desktops or laptops.

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The offering comes under MGM’s market access arrangement with the brick-and-mortar casino at The Greenbrier. BetMGM is also in the process of entering the Pennsylvania and Michigan online casino markets “in the coming months.” Pennsylvania is already an active market, and Michigan is expected to begin later this year or in early 2021. MGM owns Detroit’s largest casino in terms of market share.

DraftKings gets competition

BetMGM’s online casino offering competes with a DraftKings online casino product that launched in West Virginia in July. DraftKings also offers online/mobile sports betting in the Mountain State.

DraftKings gained access to West Virginia cyberspace through Hollywood Casino at Charlestown Races.

Unlike BetMGM, the DraftKings Casino is available as its own app as well as placement within the online/mobile sportsbook. The DraftKings launch made West Virginia the fifth state to kick off real-money online casino-style gambling (caveat: Nevada is poker only). DraftKings is also live with online casino in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and it’s expected that its games will be available in Michigan as well.

According to the most recent figures from the West Virginia Lottery, the state’s online casino market has seen more than $44.7 million in wagers so far, generating about $1 million in revenue for DraftKings.

That was from about a month of gambling via the internet.

The state doesn’t release a breakdown between online slots and table games.

For comparison, West Virginia sports bettors wagered $15.8 million in July despite a meager betting menu, generating about $1.5 million in revenue among the online/mobile sportsbooks. FanDuel is also live in West Virginia, though it hasn’t debuted an iCasino product.

West Virginia is a very small market

BetMGM and its rivals will generate some revenue from West Virginia, but it’s a state with only about 1.8 million people — and it’s not a very wealthy state either. However, it’s one of a very small number of jurisdictions with legalized online casino gambling, so an entry into the state helps BetMGM lobby for online casino authorization in additional, more lucrative markets.

For future online poker, West Virginia’s population does represent a small but meaningful addition to any multi-state liquidity sharing. It’s unclear, however, when peer-to-peer online poker might begin in the state.

The nearly $45 million in online casino handle seen in West Virginia in about a month of play on the DraftKings online casino offering pales in comparison to the online casino market in Pennsylvania. To be fair, Pennsylvanians have many more online casinos to choose from.

In July, Pennsylvania’s online casinos saw more than $1.8 billion bet online (not including sports bets) between the slots and tables. The industry generated $51.3 million in revenue off of those iGaming wagers.

In other words, Pennsylvania’s online casino market was about 40-50 times larger than West Virginia’s last month.

For West Virginians, the BetMGM launch offers another option for their betting entertainment. For BetMGM, it’s a useful chip in its high-stakes game of proliferating regulated online casino gambling across the U.S.

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