West Virginia has aggressively embraced sports wagering since PASPA was overturned in 2018. Not only did the state become one of the first new markets for legal sports betting in-person at commercial casinos and racetracks, but it was also one of the first to launch online sports betting, which is now available everywhere in the state.
West Virginia was highly supportive of New Jersey in its legal fight to invalidate the federal restrictions on sports gambling, and its legislature passed its own laws in advance of the Supreme Court decision to strike down PASPA.
Under the guidance of the West Virginia Lottery Commission, the first of the Mountain State’s physical sportsbooks opened just in time for the 2018 football season. Additional retail operations opened throughout the season, and the first online app officially launched in December.
West Virginia is now one of a growing number of states in the U.S. where sports fans will be able to safely and legally place bets at their convenience, from any location and at all hours. Online casino gambling also seems to be on the way.
On this page we will examine the current status of the West Virginia market (both in-person and over the internet), explain how residents and visitors can both access this new gambling medium, and review how all this came to pass.
Best WV online sportsbooks
Getting started on WV online sportsbooks and apps
The process of becoming a WV online bettor is about as simple as it gets. Any person that meets some basic eligibility requirements and has access to a functional computer or mobile device will be able to sign-up and plunk down their first wager.
Age 21 and up only
By law West Virginia will not allow you to register an account unless you are at least 21. This is despite the fact that sports betting is regulated by the Lottery Commission and takes place at race tracks, and you only need to be 18 to bet on horse races or buy lotto tickets.
Location, location, geolocation
You can access your account from nearly anywhere. You can view betting lines and handle any banking transfers while in, or out of state. However, you will not be able to actually place a bet unless you can confirm to the site that you are physically within state lines.
On a tablet or smartphone this is usually as easy as turning on Location services. On a computer it’s done by activating a geolocation plugin and confirming a Wi-Fi signal is required.
Once the server knows you are physically in West Virginia, you are good to go.
Select the appropriate “new user” or “join” link and in just a few simple steps you should be able to create a West Virginia online sports betting account and get started betting.
Generally, you only need to offer up a small amount of personal information about yourself. Name, e-mail address, SSN, and what password you want to use, etc. Your government-issue ID will have most of the required info.
The only thing to keep in mind is to be sure and make certain that your name and address information on your ID is a match to whatever banking option you want to use. If there are discrepancies, it could lead to headaches later on when it’s time to withdraw.
Banking options: put some money in your account
Once creation is complete the only thing holding you back from making bets is a lack of funds. Generally, getting money in your online sportsbook account is a fairly easy process that can be accomplished by a variety of methods.
Typically online sports betting sites offer the same options as online casinos and poker rooms. You can instantly transfer money from a bank account, major credit card or prepaid card, online eWallet, or even cash.
- Generally speaking, ACH bank transfers are the fastest option with decent limits.
- The greatest convenience comes from eWallets such as PayPal or Skrill.
- Cash can still be king. Deposits can be made either at the cashier’s cage of the affiliated casino or by using PayNearMe (available at any local 7-11, Family Dollar, or CVS) but withdrawals can only be accomplished at the cage. Requesting a paper check by mail is often on the table if you can’t get to the casino.
First-time online sports gamblers should take great care to inform themselves about any possible welcome bonuses. They’ll add cash to your bankroll right from the jump, and may need to be activated with a promo code on deposit.
WV online sports betting: The sportsbooks
|Sportsbook||Land-Based Partner||Desktop?||Mobile?||Launch Date|
West Virginia has 5 retail casinos, each of which is permitted to house three online sports betting skins. BetLucky Sportsbook was the first online app to launch in the state, accepting its first bets on December 27, 2018. However, due to issues with its tech provider it went offline for good the following March. A few months later the DFS-turned-sportsbook juggernauts FanDuel and DraftKings re-opened the market in August.
FanDuel Sportsbook WV
- Launch Date: August 26, 2019
- Tech Partner: FanDuel
- Mobile: Yes, iOS and Android
- License Partner: The Greenbrier
Following BetLucky’s departure from the West Virginia market, FanDuel was the first online sportsbook to launch on August 26, 2019. A giant in the world of daily fantasy sports, FanDuel is now one of the largest online sports betting operators in the United States. FanDuel operates successful books in a number of states including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and of course – West Virginia.
The FanDuel-sponsored retail sportsbook predated its online operations in West Virginia, accepting its first bets in-person at the Greenbrier on September 14, 2018, nearly a full year before moving online.
DraftKings Sportsbook WV
- Launch Date: August 28, 2019
- Tech Partner: Kambi
- Mobile: Yes, iOS and Android
- License Partner: Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races
DraftKings has been enormously successful both at Daily Fantasy Sports and more recently with actual online sports betting in the U.S. The company is now active and accepting wagers in the majority of states with a regulated betting market.
In WV DraftKings has developed an online sportsbook in conjunction with Penn National’s Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races. The online site went live just two days after FanDuel, accepting bets on August 28, 2019.
Notably, DraftKings is not the name-sponsor of the retail sportsbook at the Hollywood Casino.
BetMGM Sportsbook WV
- Launch Date: January 21, 2020
- Tech Partner: BetMGM
- Mobile: Yes, iOS and Android
- License Partner: The Greenbrier (skin)
BetMGM is the online extension of MGM Resorts, one of the most well known casino brands in the world. The site, complete with both a desktop sportsbook and betting mobile apps, officially went live on January 21, 2020, accepting bets from customers all over West Virginia.
BetMGM partnered with the Greenbrier casino in White Sulphur Springs, WV, operating as one of three potential skins on its license. FanDuel is the retail sportsbook sponsor at the Greenbrier, thus BetMGM exists in the state in an online-only capacity.
BetLucky Sportsbook (closed)
- Launch Date: December 27, 2018
- Shutdown Date: March 7, 2019
As mentioned, BetLucky was first to market, but ultimately short lived in the state of West Virginia. Delaware North and Miomni couldn’t resolve their grievances and the site shut down after roughly 3 months of activity. Wagering has resumed at the Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island casinos under Betly Sportsbook.
Land-based sportsbooks in West Virginia
West Virginia is home to five different brick-and-mortar casinos, each of which is now home to a fully equipped retail sportsbook.
|Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races||Sportsbook at Hollywood Casino||09/01/2018|
|The Greenbrier||FanDuel Sportsbook||09/14/2018|
|Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort||William Hill Sportsbook||11/21/2018|
|Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Racetrack||Betly Sportsbook||01/31/2020|
|Mardi Gras Casino & Resort||Betly Sportsbook||01/31/2020|
These brick-and-mortar casino locations are fairly spread out, and located largely along the perimeter of the state map. Many are actually in convenient locations for West Virginia’s neighbors. Bettors in states like Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, or Maryland, which don’t have access to sports betting in their own state yet, can easily hop across the border and make a wager.
Public Racetrack Casino sportsbooks
West Virginia boasts four tracks for thoroughbred and/or greyhound racing. All of these expanded to “racinos” after the state legalized casino gambling in 2007.
Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races – Charles Town, WV
Hollywood Casino was the first WV brick-and-mortar site to open its sports betting operation. The book had a soft-launch on August 30, 2018, with the official opening the next day on September 1. This fortuitous timing was just before the start of football season on September 6.
Hollywood Casino hosts DraftKings online sportsbook on its license, but the DK brand isn’t associated with the retail betting facility. After Penn National acquired a large stake in Barstool Sports in early 2020, it has been hypothesized that the Charles Town Races location could become one of the country’s first Barstool Sportsbooks.
The physical location is very close in proximity to both Virginia and Maryland. It is also a reasonable drive from Washington D.C.
Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort – Chester, WV
Mountaineer Casino opened its William Hill sponsored sportsbook on November 21, 2018. The property was late to seek a license but moved quickly to launch.
The resort is right across the river from Ohio, but also very close to Pennsylvania.
The Mountaineer casino is expected to eventually host a William Hill online sportsbook on its gaming license, though the timeline remains a mystery.
Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Racetrack – Wheeling, WV
Wheeling Island launched a sportsbook on December 27, 2018, alongside sister-property Mardi Gras. The same day, parent company Delaware North released the Mionmi-powered BetLucky mobile sportsbook, affiliated with both casinos.
Unfortunately the marriage between Delaware North and Miomni wasn’t built to last. Both online and retail operations closed in March 2019.
After more than 9 months Wheeling Island announced it had found a new sports betting partner. On January 31, 2020, the on-site sportsbook reopened under the Betly name, just in time for the Super Bowl.
The hotel is situated very close to the western edge of Pennsylvania and walking distance to Ohio.
Mardi Gras Casino & Resort – Nitro, WV
Much like Wheeling Island, Mardi Gras, which is owned by Delaware North, originally began accepting retail sports betting wagers in December 2018. After three months of operation under BetLucky, and 9 months of downtime, the now permanent on premise Betly Sportsbook facility began accepting retail wagers again in January 2020.
The resort is located near the Ohio border.
Private club sportsbook
In addition to the four public racinos, West Virginia has one additional casino location at a luxury resort in the Allegheny Mountains
The Greenbrier – White Sulphur Springs, WV
The Greenbrier resort opened its Casino Club in 2010, and is the only brick-and-mortar casino in the state not attached to a racing operation. As the casino is considered a private club, it is not open to the public and access is only allowed to guests of the hotel.
On September 14, 2018, the Greenbrier opened the state’s second operational sportsbook with the help of industry expert FanDuel. The Greenbrier has now used two if its three available online sports betting skins, housing both FanDuel and BetMGM.
The resort is located near the Virginia border.
Future sportsbooks in West Virginia
At this time additional physical sportsbooks are not really on the radar, as there are no remaining properties that are eligible for a license. Every WV casino and racino already offers sports betting.
However, the online landscape is still pretty open as each casino has the right to launch up to three skins on its license. Thus, if online sports betting takes hold in the state we will likely see plenty of additional apps on the way. West Virginia is also currently looking into expanding gambling options to include online casinos and/or poker, which could potentially affect the proliferation of sites.
Popular candidates to launch online sports betting in the near future include:
- Barstool Sportsbook – Partnered with Penn National and Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, a Barstool online sports betting app is expected in WV.
- William Hill – WH is already the retail sponsor at the Mountaineer Casino, it just needs to port its proven online product to the state
- Betly Sportsbook – Betly is the new retail sportsbook sponsor at both the Mardi Gras Casino and the Wheeling Island Casino. The company has announced its intention to offer an online sports betting app as well.
Specific regulations, the tax rate, and revenue results
West Virginia’s sports betting law was in place prior to the PASPA decision, allowing the state a quick transition to implement development.
Key specifics of the law include:
- The Lottery Commission oversees all licenses and approvals. The Commission selects a separate independent professional to regularly assess security and system integrity.
- Licensing fees were set at $100,000, initially and annually. All operators must maintain a cash reserve equal to the current pool (and not less than $500,000) to cover liability.
- Up to three different branded sites and accompanying apps will be allowed for each license, so long as they clearly indicate the name of the license holding casino.
- The tax rate was at a static 10% on revenue, whether land-based or online. This is a very reasonable amount, and is closely comparable to the extremely successful NJ market, and far less than states like PA have come out with.
- No integrity fee was included in the law, despite a big push during the final parts of the legislative process.
These requirements are not lax, but definitely amenable. Overall the regulations have made it fairly easy for licensees to begin operations.
In particular, the tax rate is very favorable: 10% which is about the same as NJ’s rate (land-based, online is slightly higher), and drastically lower than the 36% in neighboring Pennsylvania.
Some legislators have questioned if the low tax rate was too generous. So far revenues have not been fantastic, but the market still shows growth potential. In particular, the Hollywood Casino sportsbook, which was the first to open and enjoys proximity to Washington D.C., has shown favorable numbers.
West Virginia is a very small market with a state population of only 1.8 million people. This limited pool of bettors means the nascent operations can be more prone to the occasional bad week with negative revenues. The state is also very mountainous and even short travel on its roads can be time-consuming, so reaching land-based locations is not necessarily easy. Online/mobile wagering has definitely helped.
A brief history of West Virginia’s path to sports betting
In 1992 Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Amendment (PASPA) effectively banning full-service sports betting nationwide (except in Nevada, along with a few other grandfathered examples).
Several states have long objected to the restriction, especially New Jersey which attempted for years to regulate its own sports wagering market. The battle began in earnest in 2009, with legislation that finally became law in 2012 before being shut down in the courts.
It took until 2017 for the Supreme Court to hear arguments in the case, by which time the environment seemed to be very favorable for PASPA to be overturned. West Virginia moved quickly in anticipation of a positive outcome; the state was one of five that signed an amicus brief in support of NJ in November of 2016 (to be joined by more than a dozen more over the course of the following year.)
In March of 2017, a West Virginia state delegate named Shawn Fluharty introduced a bill to declare PASPA illegitimate and legalize sports betting under the authority of the State Lottery Commission. After several attempts a version of this legislation passed in early 2018.
Fluharty believed it was very likely NJ would win its case, and that by having legislation in place already West Virginia would gain a distinct economic advantage by being one of the first states to develop a working market for sports gambling.
His assessment came to pass. SCOTUS struck down PASPA in May 2018, and with the launch of the sportsbook at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races on August 30 of the same year, West Virginia became the fifth state in the nation to offer legal sports betting.
By the end of the year all five of the West Virginia’s retail gaming facilities housed a new sportsbook. Online operations followed in 2019. West Virginia is now a promising market in the young iGaming industry.