West Virginia is quickly becoming a hub for online gaming and sports betting. After the US Supreme Court’s ruling that overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, The Mountain state became the fifth US state to legalize sports betting. Recent legislation also legalized online casinos and poker. These recent events mean the West Virginia online gambling industry is ready to roll.
The state recently passed legislation to allow online casinos and online poker. The law authorizes casinos with proper licensing to launch online casinos and online poker offerings. However, full legalization takes time. The state expects to finalize its regulations sometime in 2020.
From there, operators must apply for licenses, and that process can take months. As the regulations come through and licensing begins, players can expect online poker and casinos to launch in West Virginia sometime in 2021.
West Virginia Online Sportsbooks
West Virginia bettors have access to three legal online sports betting sites.
Hollywood Casino Charles Town is DraftKings’ land-based casino partner in West Virginia.
To bet on a desktop, players can head to DraftKings Sportsbooks. DraftKings also has an iOS app in the App Store and an Android app available on their webpage.
FanDuel partners with The Casino Club at The Greenbrier in West Virginia. The online betting company operates the land-based casino’s retail sportsbook.
FanDuel’s mobile app is available to West Virginia sports bettors on the iOS app store and on their website for Android users. If you prefer to play on a desktop, a visit to FanDuel’s website is the easiest way to get started.
MGM, known for its many land-based casinos across the U.S., is licensed to provide an online-only sportsbook in West Virginia.
BetMGM has Apple iOS and Android apps in addition to desktop betting, which is available on their website.
How Do I Play At An Online Sportsbook In West Virginia?
Online sports betting requires age verification and geolocation. You must be 21+ years old to play. When you first register, sportsbooks will require you to provide your social security number to confirm your age and identity before you can start playing.
You also must be within state lines to place an online bet in West Virginia, though you do not need to be a resident. Modern geolocation technology is incredibly accurate and will ensure you can only participate if you are within the state.
If you travel from a neighboring state to place a bet and leave West Virginia, any bets you placed within the borders will still be honored. However, you won’t be able to place new bets unless you return to West Virginia.
Getting Started With A West Virginia Online Sports Betting Site
Opening an online sportsbook account starts by simply choosing a device and signing up. There are a few things to keep in mind though.
Apple restricts regulated gambling apps from its App Store listings unless they’re developed natively using Apple’s programming language. This can be a significant undertaking for online casino providers, so not every operator will offer an iOS app. Many do have them available, and some are still in development.
If you’re looking to play on an Apple device, check the App Store first to confirm whether your sportsbook of choice offers an app. If they don’t, you can still play in your phone or tablet’s mobile browser.
Android users have a different set of obstacles to overcome. Google prohibits regulated gambling apps on the Play Store, but you can still download sportsbook apps for Android. When you choose an operator, head to their website and find the link that allows you to download the Android App directly from your browser.
Using A Desktop Computer
If you’re a desktop bettor, you don’t need to worry about app store restrictions. You can navigate to your sports betting website of choice and start playing.
Once you’ve picked a device and downloaded the app or visited the website, just follow the prompts to sign-up, plug in your information, and start betting!
West Virginia Online Gambling
West Virginia has displayed a progressive strategy when it comes to online betting. The state was among the early adopters of legal sports betting. It’s also begun to open up opportunities for other forms of online gaming. Though some have yet to launch, the Mountain State has showcased its willingness to offer online gambling through recent legislation.
Online Casinos In West Virginia
West Virginia law permits land-based properties to apply for online casino licenses. However, the state is still in the process of finalizing its regulations surrounding the online casino space. Once the process is complete, operators can apply for licenses and eventually launch online casinos.
West Virginia took a speedy approach to sports betting, so it’s safe to expect online casinos to move quickly once they establish regulations. 2021 looks to be the most likely launch window, though things could change as casinos receive their licenses and look to get a jump on the new market.
Online Poker In West Virginia
The same law that legalized online casinos in West Virginia also paved the way for legal online poker in the state. Land-based casinos with an online license will be able to offer the one-two punch of online casino and online poker to players.
Online poker typically restricts players from competing with opponents outside of their state. However, the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement allows Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware players to compete with one another in online poker rooms. Whether West Virginia (or neighboring state Pennsylvania) will join the agreement remains unclear. The option could provide plenty of opportunities for poker enthusiasts to play with a wider pool of bettors.
West Virginia Online Horse Race Betting
West Virginia allows online horse race betting for anyone 18 years of age or older.
Major horse racing events such as the Kentucky Derby can be found on online sportsbooks. DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM offer a number of events for players looking to bet on racing.
For a betting experience specifically tailored to racing, West Virginia players can use sites like TVG or TwinSpires to bet on races around the world.
Online lottery is still a rarity in the US. Only a few states offer online lottery sales, and West Virginia has not yet joined their ranks.
Lottery players in West Virginia can purchase tickets at qualified retailers.
The state also offers video lottery terminals, which are similar to the slot machines you may find at a casino. These run on lottery systems and can be found at certain retail locations. Still, they require a visit to a qualified shop and are not available online.
For now, it appears West Virginia will keep its lottery offering as it is. The state has no apparent plans to extend its lottery to the online space.
West Virginia Fantasy Sports
Currently, 21 states have legislation in place that makes DFS explicitly legal. West Virginia is not among those states with legislation surrounding Daily Fantasy Sports. However, recent sports betting launches and the state’s progressive stance toward online gambling indicate that players can continue enjoying DFS.
Notably, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey issued a statement in 2016 declaring Daily Fantasy Sports permissible under state law.
Despite the absence of an official ruling, it’s reasonable to expect that West Virginia will continue to permit DFS, especially with laws in place allowing legal online sports betting.
While online casino regulations make their way through West Virginia and players wait patiently for those sites to launch, sweepstakes casinos are an alternative option.
Two of the largest sweepstakes casino operators are Chumba Casino and Luckyland casino. These sites let players buy in-game currency knowns as “coins,” which they can use to play casino games. The coins cost real money but have no real value. When a player purchases coins, they receive a small allotment of sweepstakes coins. This is usually branded as “Sweeps Cash” or “Sweeps Coins.” Unlike the in-game currency, sweeps cash has real value and can be redeemed for real money.
Sweepstakes casinos like Chumba and Luckyland operate as legal sweepstakes. These sweepstakes casinos offer a number of casino-style games to players. They also offer a mail-in option. This allows players to redeem a mail-in offer for free sweeps coins. By offering free coins via mail, these operators can run their sites even in states with stringent gaming laws.
West Virginia has a fairly open stance to online games of chance. As a result, sweepstakes casinos can be a solid holdover while players wait for full-fledged online gaming. Exercise caution, though, as these sites find ways around regulations in order to operate.
Sweepstakes Poker Sites
The same companies that operate sweepstakes casinos typically have poker sites that use the same model like Global Poker.
Sweepstakes poker players use real money to purchase in-game coins that they can use to play poker online. Every purchase comes with a small amount of Sweeps Coins that can be redeemed for real money.
The mail-in option is available on sweepstakes poker sites, too. The sweepstakes model allows the operators to offer their games in various states despite gambling regulations.
As West Virginia players wait for online poker to launch, sweepstakes poker remains an option to be used cautiously.
Who Can Get A License To Run A West Virginia Online Sports Betting Site?
In 2018, the U.S. Supreme court ruled the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act unconstitutional. While many think that this legalized sports betting across the nation, that’s not quite the case. Instead, the ruling made it possible for individual states to regulate sports betting with their own laws. As a result, each state that has legalized sports betting in any form has a different process for doing so.
West Virginia Lottery Commission
The West Virginia Lottery Sports Wagering Act identified the West Virginia Lottery Commission as the organization in charge of overseeing sports betting in the state.
The West Virginia Lottery Commission grants licenses to companies to operate sportsbooks. Every sanctioned sports betting site displays the West Virginia Lottery logo. This indicates that the site is licensed and approved by the governing body and thus safe for players to use.
Typically, the organization approves land-based casinos to offer sports betting. Those properties then partner with online technology or sportsbook providers to launch online sports betting.
Licensed Online Sportsbooks In WV
Three licensed sportsbooks are live in West Virginia. FanDuel is partnered with The Casino Club at the Greenbrier. DraftKings operates under Hollywood Casino Charles Town’s license. BetMGM is the outlier: it has a license to operate an online-only sportsbook.
Online sportsbook and land-based casino partnerships are the norm in many states. BetMGM’s online-only license, though, could set a precedent that leads to more online operators launching sports betting in the state without tethers to a casino property.
As a player, always keep an eye out for the West Virginia Lottery logo. That’s the best indication that you’re on a sanctioned and regulated sports betting website licensed to operate in West Virginia.
Why Should I Trust Regulated Betting Sites?
As we mentioned above, the West Virginia Lottery Commission oversees the state’s sports betting sites. This is crucial to keep in mind if you’re looking for a trustworthy sportsbook.
Regulated sports betting sites will offer levels of safety and security that offshore and grey market sites cannot. Unregulated sites are only responsible for upholding the laws of the jurisdiction where they operate. As a result, they aren’t required to meet the high standards of organizations that oversee gaming in legal states. Here are some things to look for.
Licensed sportsbooks offer a variety of payment options. These usually include credit/debit card, online banking, ACH, PayPal, prepaid cards, and other online payment providers like Skrill or PayNearMe. Sportsbooks use high-level encryption tools of the same caliber used by banks and online retailers to protect your payment data.
This is a primary reason to trust legal sites over offshore offerings. Unregulated sportsbooks will usually have just a few payment options. Often, these are risky methods such as online banking or transfers that put your data at risk.
A Better Player Experience
Regulated sites are incentivized to provide a polished player experience. Offshore sportsbooks are aimed at making a profit. Though that’s not necessarily a bad thing, regulated sites aim to achieve that goal through more player-focused strategies.
Legal and licensed sportsbooks will have multiple avenues to reach customer support. This often includes live chat, phone lines, and email systems. They’ll have dedicated agents on-hand to help you resolve any issues. More importantly, though, they build their sportsbooks in partnership with technology companies with tons of experience. Regulated sports betting providers have a polished and seamless user interface that’s made to give the player a positive and fun time when they’re betting.
Offshore sites don’t prioritize the player. Using them can range from slightly annoying to downright frustrating.
West Virginia Online Sports Betting FAQ
How many different sports betting sites does West Virginia have?
Three. BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel are all live and available to West Virginia Bettors.
Sportsbooks regulations hit West Virginia in 2019, so the state is still in its sports betting infancy. Throughout 2020 and into 2021, players can expect a variety of new operators to enter the market, provided they receive licenses.
What bonuses do online sportsbooks offer?
There are a number of bonuses available to sports bettors.
Almost every sportsbook will have some sort of sign-up bonus. Usually, these come in the form of a risk-free first bet or an initial deposit match. Risk-free first bets offer players some or all of their money back if their first bet placed on the site loses. Deposit matches give players extra money in their account by matching the amount of their first deposit.
Other bonuses are available to seasoned bettors in the form of rewards and loyalty programs.
What sports can I bet on in West Virginia?
West Virginia sportsbooks have a huge portfolio of available sports.
All the major leagues are available: basketball, football, baseball, and hockey. Plus other big sports such as golf, tennis, soccer, and more. Less mainstream sports like rugby, cricket, and UFC matches are available to bet on too.
West Virginia sets itself apart from other states by allowing bettors to wager on in-state collegiate matches. Esports betting is allowed as well, as long as competitors are above 18 years old.
What’s the age requirement to bet on sports in West Virginia?
21 or above.
Online sports betting providers have strict policies in place that you must adhere to in order to place a wager. Before you can place a bet, you’ll need to provide age verification in the form of a valid social security number.
You also need to be in the state of West Virginia to place a bet, which is confirmed by geolocation technology.
Can I place sports bets on my phone in West Virginia?
Yes. Currently, all three sportsbooks–BetMGM, Draftkings, and FanDuel–have Apple iOS and Android apps.
The iOS apps are available in Apple’s App Store. To download the Android app, visit your chosen sportsbook’s webpage. Google doesn’t allow gambling apps on the Play Store, but you can still get the app through the operator’s website.
If you prefer not to use an app, you can play from your mobile browser by navigating to a sportsbook’s website.
Should I sign up with more than one West Virginia sports betting site?
In many cases, yes.
Sports betting sites compete with each other, which means they’ll give you lucrative sign-up offers to get you to play on their site. Signing up for multiple sportsbook accounts means you can leverage all of those offers and maximize your value. Plus, if you do this, you can easily find out which sportsbook you like best and stick with it for future wagers.