Last updated: June 1, 2020
Status: – All forms of sports betting are currently legal in West Virginia
ETA: – Full sports betting was made legal in West Virginia in August 2018.
West Virginia legalized sports betting in 2018, but it hasn’t been smooth sailing. Like many states, West Virginia was eager to cash in on the US betting revolution. Even before the Supreme Court ruled the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) unconstitutional in May 2018, the winds of change were blowing.
Sensing a potential shift, Senate Bill 415 was submitted in February 2018. Otherwise known as the West Virginia Lottery Sports Wagering Act, the bill made it through the Senate and House, eventually receiving the proverbial greenlight in March. At the heart of the bill was a move to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, adding new provisions to allow sports betting.
With the bill accepted, it was only a matter of time before it was written into law. By the end of May, the fall of PASPA gave West Virginia the ability to make its sports betting ambitions a reality. The WV Lottery Commission quickly set about drafting rules for casinos and betting brands. The ultimate goal was to make West Virginia sportsbooks a reality before the 2018/2018 NFL season.
Regulators and operators met that goal with ease. The first legal sports bet in West Virginia was placed at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town on August 30. Following a successful soft launch, full sports betting went live on September 1, 2018.
By December 2018, online sports betting was legalized. However, following supplier issues, the state’s lone desktop and mobile sportsbook, BetLucky, ceased trading in March 2019. Despite that hiccup, the WV Lottery Commission licensed five online sportsbook operators in April 2019, meaning online betting is still a reality in the state.
When it comes to betting on sport, West Virginia has been in the game for decades. Prior to PASPA, horse racing was popular in West Virginia. In 1933, the Charles Town Turf Club was actively taking bets on races. From there, Wheeling Downs opened before Waterford Park (now Mountaineer Park) started taking bets in 1951.
With residents hot on horse racing, other gambling innovations soon followed:
1987 – Mountaineer Park was given permission to offer lottery terminals. It became the first racetrack in the state to offer the electronic betting games.
1994 – New regulations gave all West Virginia racetracks the ability to offer video lottery terminals.
1997 – Charles Town Races adds slots to its selection of onsite betting options.
2001 – Video lottery laws are extended to include up to 9,000 select retail locations.
2007 – Mountaineer Park and Wheeling Downs are given permission to offer poker games and, subsequently, a full range of casino games, including roulette, craps and blackjack.
2018 – Following the addition of more casino gaming options across the state’s racetracks, West Virginia sports betting laws came into effect in August 2018.
Absolutely. After greenlighting legislation in March 2018, West Virginia sportsbooks were eventually able to offer legal sports betting in August 2018.
The WV Lottery Commission is in charge of regulating and licensing West Virginia sports betting sites and live venues.
To bet on sports in West Virginia, you must be 21 or older.
Current laws permit both live and online sports betting in West Virginia. In December 2018, BetLucky became the state’s first and only online sportsbook. However, issues with its software supplier led to its closure in March 2019. The app will not reopen but the WV Lottery Commission did grant the following operators online betting licenses in April 2019:
In terms of where you bet on sports in West Virginia without going online, the state’s five casinos and racinos are the places to go.
In addition to the above, the West Virginia sports betting operators you need to know are:
As of May 2019, there are five live sports betting license holders in West Virginia and five online licensees.
DraftKings, BetMGM and FanDuel are all live in West Virginia.
In 2018, West Virginia sports betting sites and live venues generated just over $1 million in revenue each month. The high point came in December when profits topped $5.5 million.
West Virginia sportsbooks have to pay a $100,000 licensing fee and 10% tax on all sports betting revenue.
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