West Virginia

West Virginia is a gambling-friendly state with numerous gaming options for its residents both online and in-person. The state is home to four racetrack-casinos, an historic hotel-casino, retail sportsbooks at casinos and a state lottery.

As for online betting, West Virginia has a similarly diverse array of options. Laws passed in 2018 and 2019 legalized mobile sports betting, online casino games and poker to go along with the state’s existing options for online racing betting. To summarize, most forms of gaming are available online and in-person throughout West Virginia.

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In-person and mobile sports betting are now available in West Virginia for anyone 21 or older and located within state lines. In early 2018, the state passed a law to legalize and regulate sports betting online and in the real world on the condition that the federal sports betting ban was stricken down by the Supreme Court. That is exactly what happened, and WV sportsbooks were given the green light to go live.

A law adopted in 2019 authorized each the state’s casinos to offer online gambling and poker to fully round out West Virginia’s online gaming industry. The passage of that law made West Virginia one of the first few states to fully regulate each of the major forms of online gambling.

Mobile Sports Betting in West Virginia

Legislation passed in 2018 permits land-based casinos to offer in-person and mobile sports betting. State law authorizes each of West Virginia’s five casinos to operate up to three individually branded online sportsbooks, clearing the way for up to 15 operators at max capacity.

Online sports betting in WV is restricted to customers 21 or older and located within state lines at the time wagers are placed. Sports fans from out of state are welcome to register and deposit but must be located within WV boundaries to place wagers.

The current lineup of WV mobile sportsbooks includes the following:

FanDuel Sportsbook at the Greenbrier launched mobile betting in late August 2019. Although the Greenbrier Resort itself operates under a restricted-access policy (more on that below), FanDuel WV is open to customers across the state. You need only be 21 or older and physically present within state lines to bet online with FanDuel.

DraftKings Sportsbook launched mobile betting just a few days after FanDuel in partnership with Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races.

BetMGM Sportsbook followed suit in January 2020 in partnership with The Greenbrier.

William Hill is partnered with Mountaineer Casino and operates a retail sportsbook there. Mobile betting is expected to come online over the near-to-medium future.

West Virginia Sportsbooks

Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races accepted the state’s first ever sports wager on August 30th of 2018. The casino initially launched with in-person sports betting only and added mobile betting about a year later in partnership with DraftKings.

West Virginia is now home to five retail sportsbooks, one at each casino. The sportsbooks at Mardi Gras Casino and Wheeling Island suspended operations temporarily in March 2019 following a contract dispute between their technology supplier  (Miomni) and one of its third-party contracts but resumed operations with a different supplier (IGT) in February 2020.

That leaves us with five active retail sportsbooks in WV today:

  • Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in Charles Town
  • Casino Club at the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs
  • Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort in New Cumberland
  • Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Racetrack in Wheeling Island
  • Mardi Gras Casino in Cross Lanes

The Sportsbook at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races

  • Sports betting partners: William Hill and DraftKings
  • Address: 100 Hollywood Drive, Charles Town, WV 25414
  • Website: Hollywood Casino Sportsbook

The Sportsbook at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races was the first WV sportsbook to go live in August 2018. Noted international sportsbook and betting services provider Kambi manages the retail sportsbook there.

In August 2019, DraftKings Sportsbook launched mobile betting on one of Hollywood Casino’s three online betting permits.

FanDuel Sportsbook at the Casino Club at the Greenbrier

  • Sports betting partner: FanDuel
  • Address: 101 Main Street, West, White Sulphur Springs, WV 24986
  • Website: Greenbrier Sportsbook

FanDuel and the Casino Club at the Greenbrier formed a partnership to operate a retail sportsbook and mobile betting app. The FanDuel Sportsbook at Greenbrier accepted its first in-person wagers in September 2018 and its first online wagers in August 2019.

The Greenbrier Resort is unique among WV casinos in terms of who is allowed to visit the casino. State law only permits the casino to accept patrons who are:

  • Overnight guests at the resort
  • Members of the Sporting Club
  • Members of the Golf & Tennis Club
  • Attendees of an event or convention staying off-property when more than 400 rooms are booked

FanDuel WV is not subject to those same restrictions despite operating in partnership with the Greenbrier. Customers 21+ from across the state are welcome to download the FanDuel WV app to bet online.

The Greenbrier is also partnered with BetMGM to offer mobile sports betting across the state.

Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort Sportsbook

The Mountaineer Casino Sportsbook is operated in partnership with William Hill and accepts the most common types of bets for all major sports. Customers can place straight bets, parlays, futures, props, teasers, round robins on more for a full range of sports.

The sportsbook at Mountaineer Casino is open seven days a week until 12 AM Sunday through Thursday and until 1 AM on Fridays and Saturdays.

Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Sportsbook

Delaware North, parent company of Wheeling Island Casino and Mardi Gras Casino, is partnered with International Game Technology (IGT) to operate retail sportsbooks at both locations. At Wheeling Island Sportsbook, customers will find staffed betting windows and five self-service kiosks capable of accepting wagers up to $1,000.

Casino representatives have confirmed that a mobile betting app bearing the Betly name is under development as well.

Delaware North was originally partnered with Miomni Gaming and launched the BetLucky Ap in December 2018 to take the state’s first mobile wagers. The new online sportsbook quickly ran into trouble, however, after Miomni experienced a contract dispute with one of its technology suppliers and abruptly halted operations in March 2019. The retail sportsbooks at both casinos were also forced to close.

Delaware North later initiated a lawsuit alleging Miomni had misrepresented the nature of its contract with third-party providers, which left Delaware North unaware that its sportsbooks could potentially be compromised by a third party.

The whole ordeal prompted Delaware North to dump Miomni and partner instead with IGT. The sportsbooks at Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras reopened in January 2020.

Mardi Gras Casino Sportsbook

The retail sportsbook at Mardi Gras Casino reopened in January 2020 following an extended shutdown due to issues with its prior technology and odds provider (see above). Today, the sportsbook accepts wagers on all major sports and is expected to commence online betting in the near future.

Online Casinos and Poker in West Virginia

Online gambling is legal and regulated in west Virginia. Under state law, each land-based casino may partner with third-party software providers to offer online gambling and poker to customers who are 21 or older and physically located within state lines.

The state’s first online casino launched in July 2020 and more are expected to follow suit over the near term. The following list of WV gambling sites will be updated as additional operators go live:

Regulations adopted by the WV Lottery Commission further specify that each casino may contract with outside providers to operate up to three individually branded gambling websites and accompanying mobile applications. What that means for gamblers is that West Virginia could see as many as fifteen online casinos if all five of the state’s land-based casinos launch three gambling sites each.

WV Online Gambling Law

The West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act (WC Code §29-22E-1-24) was passed in March 2019 to formally legalize online gambling and poker throughout the state.

Under the law, the West Virginia Lottery Commission regulates online gambling and is in charge of issuing licenses, drawing up regulations as needed and overseeing the conduct of licensed operators.

Key points from the law include:

  • Players must be 21 or older to gamble online in WV
  • Customers must be located within WV state lines to participate
  • Land-based casinos must pay a $250,000 application fee to offer online gambling, pay a $100,000 renewal fee every five years and are subject to a 15% tax on adjusted gross receipts

As the bill is written, WV casinos have a wide range of latitude in the types of games they may offer. The Act names online slots, table games and any other game authorized by the Commission.

Overall, the WV Lottery Interactive Wagering Act is a win for the industry and players alike. Low tax rates and reasonable licensing fees combined with casinos being allowed to offer most games should give players access to a wide range of gaming options from multiple providers.

The WV Lottery issued additional regulations in July 2020 to clear the path for the state’s first online casinos to launch. The online gambling regulations go to great lengths detailing how operators must ensure the fairness of their games, disclose all relevant information to customers, manage disputes and much more.

Some of the key points from the regulations include:

  • Online casinos must adhere to strict responsible gambling protocols that include training for all employees on spotting the signs of problem gambling, prominently displaying phone numbers and links to problem gambling resources, methods by which customers may set deposit/spending limits and more
  • Online casinos must collect and verify each customer’s legal name, date of birth, address, phone number, e-mail address and the last four digits of each customer’s Social Security number
  • Customers may fund their gambling accounts via credit card, debit card, checking account, cash in person, reloadable prepaid cards (such as Play+) and “any other means approved by the Direct” of the WV Lottery Commission
  • The WV Lottery Commission may authorize operators to accept customers from out of state if WV has an agreement in place with that state and if that state also has legal online gambling – this rule opens the door for interstate online poker (i.e. allowing poker sites in WV to share tables with poker sites in NJ, MI, PA, DE and NV)

WV Daily Fantasy Sports

In July 2016, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey issued an opinion clarifying the state’s opinion on fantasy sports in response to a request from Senate President Bill Cole. A statement published on the AG’s official website explains that West Virginia law requires real money games to be determined predominantly by chance for them to meet the state’s definition of gambling. Fantasy sports do not meet that definition as they are determined primarily by skill.

The relevant portion of the formal opinion reads as follows:

“We conclude that West Virginia does not prohibit the offering of or participation in fantasy sports games, as they are defined in Senate Bill 529. We read state law to prohibit only betting upon games decided at least predominantly by chance. Fantasy sports games, as defined in the Senate Bill, are not so decided. Rather, they are determined predominantly by skill, knowledge, and athletic performance. Because you have not asked, we do not specifically address whether particular fantasy sports games meet the Senate Bill’s definition. But we do note that fantasy sports games, as we have described them in the background discussion above, are likely not decided predominantly by chance.

“We further conclude that this Opinion is consistent with the decisions of most other state attorneys general regarding the legality of fantasy sports games. Those state attorneys general who have found their state laws to prohibit only betting upon games decided predominantly by chance, as we have determined about West Virginia law, have similarly found pay-to-play fantasy sports games to be lawful in their states. In contrast, in those states where fantasy sports games have been found unlawful, the state attorneys general have found state gambling laws to apply more broadly than in West Virginia, prohibiting betting in many more games than simply those where chance predominates.”

The two best fantasy sports sites in West Virginia are:

Horse Racing Betting in WV

Horse racing betting is legal in West Virginia and is regulated by the WV Racing Commission.

Horse racing fans in WV can visit Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races and Mountaineer Racetrack & Resort to bet on horse races in person.

Meanwhile, Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras Casino offer live greyhound racing year-round. All four casinos also offer simulcast racing betting for races held in other states.

Online racing betting is similarly ubiquitous in West Virginia. The country’s major greyhound and horse racing betting sites are open to customers across the state age 18 or older. The best WV racing betting sites are:

Advance Deposit Wagering Law

Online horse racing betting is legal and regulated in West Virginia. Advance deposit wagering (online betting) was permitted for years despite a lack of legal clarity, but lawmakers formally legalized the activity in 2020 with the passage of HB 4438.

Under WV Code §19-23-12e, online horse racing betting operators that wish to accept wagers via phone, internet or mobile app must register with the state and pay an initial licensing fee of $5,000. Once approved, advance deposit wagering companies pay additional fees as follows:

  • 4% source market fee
  • 0.5% regulatory fee
  • 1.5% to the state general fund

WV Sports Betting Laws and Regulations

In 2018, West Virginia passed into law a bill legalizing sports betting in the real world and online on the condition that the federal prohibition of sports betting comes to an end. The West Virginia Lottery now says casinos could be ready to go and begin taking wagers within 90 days of a Supreme Court decision.

At the time the bill became law, the Supreme Court of the United States was hearing Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association. That case, which is also referred to as the New Jersey sports betting case, came about because New Jersey passed a law attempting to legalize sports betting within state borders. The NCAA and professional sports leagues sued to stop the New Jersey law from taking effect as it is a violation of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) that prohibited single game sports betting in all states except Nevada.

New Jersey appealed the case all the way to the Supreme Court on the argument that PASPA violates the 10th Amendment, which limits the power the federal government has over the states. New Jersey won the case, PASPA was stricken down and that freed West Virginia to proceed with sports betting. West Virginia is likely to be one of the first states to take advantage of this opportunity.

West Virginia saw the potential of legal, licensed sports betting and moved quickly to adopt legislation that would permit sports wagers if the federal prohibition of sports betting is stricken down by the Supreme Court or is repealed via legislative means.

The West Virginia sports betting bill allows existing racetracks and casinos with gaming licenses to apply for a sports betting license at a cost of $100,000, renewable every five years along with a $100,000 renewal fee. Licensed operators are subject to a reasonable 10% sports betting tax. The minimum age for sports betting is 21.

Sports betting in West Virginia is regulated by the state Lottery Commission. The Commission oversees licensing, ensures compliance and audits all licensees at least once a year. The Commission is also authorized to enter into agreements with other states and jurisdictions to facilitate cross-border sports betting.

After the Supreme Court decision, the Lottery Commission got to work approving specific regulations to oversee wagering at casinos and online. Those regulations were approved in June of 2018 and finally cleared the way for local casinos to begin taking wagers both on-premises and online.

Licensed sports betting operators are required to be on the lookout for suspicious betting activity such as “non-normal irregularities in volume or odds swings” and pass reports of any suspicious activity on to the Lottery Commission for further investigation.

A Brief Overview of WV Online Gambling

The gaming bills passed in 2018 and 2019 have greatly expanded West Virginia’s online gambling options. Between those laws and others, the following forms of gambling are all legal if offered by licensed operators:

  • Sports betting
  • Casino games
  • Poker
  • Fantasy sports
  • Horse racing betting
  • Games of skill

A 2018 Supreme Court decision striking down the federal sports betting prohibition cleared the way for states to legalize and regulate sports wagering. Before the Supreme Court had even issued its decision, the WV legislature passed a law to legalize sports betting at casinos and via websites run by those casinos. After the Supreme Court issued its decision, that law took effect and the WV Lottery Commission acted to approve regulations governing how sports betting may be offered by licensed casinos and their websites.

Online casinos and poker sites were legalized a year later with the passage of HB 2934. Under HB 2934, each of the state’s casinos may offer online gambling and poker to people 21+ and located within state lines. The WV Lottery Commission is responsible for overseeing the industry and adopting any regulations it deems necessary to ensure a safe, responsible online gaming industry.

The passage of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) in 2006 paved the way for legal online fantasy sports with a clause that declared fantasy leagues to be “contests of skill” and not subject to gaming laws. Only a few states have gaming laws that prohibit fantasy betting.

The federal Interstate Horseracing Act of 1978 and a subsequent 2000 amendment made it legal for horse racing websites to accept wagers on horse races no matter where those races are held. All the major horse betting sites in the US accept customers from WV today.

Finally, online skill games may be played for real money in most states because games of skill fall outside most state’s definitions of “gambling.” There’s only one major website dedicated to skill gaming and it doesn’t have a huge player base, but it’s worth a look if you’d like to test your skills against other people in games such as Bejeweled, Scrabble, Hearts, pool and so on.

WV State Lottery

wv lottery

The West Virginia Lottery does not yet sell lottery tickets or offer any games online but officials are considering the idea. If you stumble across any of those websites that purport to sell WV lotto tickets online, know that the site is operating illegally and is in no way associated with the actual lottery. It’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not you’ll be paid if you win big through one of those sites.

In addition to running the usual lottery drawings and selling scratch tickets, the lottery operates video lottery terminals across the state and table games at licensed racetracks. The Racetrack Table Games Act gave the lottery the authority to host real money table games at 4 of the state’s racetracks. Permitted table games include roulette, craps, blackjack, poker and other games approved by the Lottery Commission.

In 1994, voters approved the installation of lottery-controlled slot machines (video lottery terminals) at each of the state’s racetracks. Legislators passed a law in 2001 that authorized the lottery to place up to 9,000 slot machines at locations with Class A alcohol licenses.

The West Virginia Lottery Commission is also responsible for overseeing sports betting in the state. In October 2018, the WV Lottery Commission approved final regulations governing sports betting to give licensed sportsbooks guidance on what all is required of them as they commence sports betting.

Fortunately for gamblers, the WV Lottery Commission rejected demands from the sports leagues and Governor Justice that licensed operators pay an “integrity fee” to the sports leagues. The inclusion of an integrity fee would have made it very expensive for sportsbooks to run their businesses, which likely would have resulted in poor odds for customers.

West Virginia Gambling Law

West Virginia’s gambling laws aren’t very well-developed compared to some other states. For example, the state offers no formal definition of the word “gambling” and many of the statutes are vague. It’s a bit of a chore to flesh out the meaning behind these laws but I’ve made the effort right here. Just note that if you need serious legal advice for anything related to gambling, you should speak to an actual attorney.

Chapter 61 Article 10 of the West Virginia Criminal Code comprises the bulk of the state’s general gaming laws. Section §61-10-1 makes it a criminal offense to keep any gaming table, machine or device. This section outlaws unlicensed poker games as it includes text that specifically classifies any table used to play cards as illegal.

Section §61-10-5 makes it illegal to participate in gambling, even if done at a private residence. This section effectively outlaws home poker games even if they are played with friends and even if the house takes no profit. Here’s the key piece of text from that section:

If any person at any place, public or private, bet or wage money or other thing of value on any game of chance, or shall knowingly furnish any money or other thing of value to any other person to bet or wage on any such game, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, shall be fined not less than five nor more than three hundred dollars, and shall, if required by the court, give security for his good behavior for one year…

A $300 misdemeanor isn’t too draconian but it does clearly show that social poker and gambling games are illegal anywhere in the state. You’ll need to visit the nearest casino or racetrack if you’d like to stay 100% within the confines of the law.

The words “internet” and “online” are found nowhere in the state’s gaming laws so there is room for some interpretation on whether or not it is legal to visit unlicensed offshore gaming sites. It wouldn’t be a stretch for a prosecutor to apply Section §61-10-5 to online betting but there is zero precedence for that in West Virginia. To date, no resident has ever been charged for the crime of online gambling.

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