All indicators point to a full range of West Virginia online gambling options in the near future. West Virginia is on the shortlist of states to legalize online casinos, sports betting, and poker.
What You Need To Know
- Online Casinos Legalized in March 2019 — Expected Launch 2021
- Online Poker Legalized in March 2019 — Expected Launch 2021
- Online Sports Betting Launched in August 2019
The Mountain State joined New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Michigan as one of only five U.S. states to legalize all three verticals, with the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act becoming law in March 2019.
The legalized online sports betting in 2018. The 2019 Act expanded West Virginia’s legal iGaming offerings to include online casinos and poker.
West Virginia’s gambling industry already includes five land-based casinos, a long tradition of horse racing, and a state lottery. Now, West Virginia is set to offer an abundance of gambling options when its online industry goes live.
West Virginia Online Gambling
|Game Type||WV Gaming Options|
|Online casinos||Legalized in March 2019; launch pending|
|Online sports betting||Legal in West Virginia; current mobile sports betting platforms started to launch in August 2019|
|Online horse race betting||Legal and available on mobile apps like TVG, TwinSpires, and BetsDRF|
|Online lottery||No options for online lottery purchases in West Virginia|
|Daily Fantasy Sports||DFS sites like FanDuel and DraftKings available to West Virginia players|
|Online poker||Legalized in March 2019; launch pending|
|Sweepstakes casinos||Sweepstakes sites like Chumba Casino available in West Virginia|
|Sweepstakes poker sites||Global Poker open to West Virginia players|
Mobile Casino Gaming Comes To West Virginia
West Virginia officially legalized online casinos with the passage of House Bill 2934 in March 2019. Known as the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act, the initiative put West Virginia in a category of five states to offer legal online casino gaming.
West Virginia joins New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Michigan on that list. Much like Michigan, the legislation is in place for legal mobile casinos to begin operations. The launch of these products is still pending.
How Will Licensing Work
The West Virginia Lottery Commission will oversee the state’s interactive gaming (iGaming) industry. The state’s five land-based casinos will own and operate West Virginia’s online casinos, with the option of working with strategic technology partners.
The Interactive Wagering Act allows for the approval of up to five iGaming licenses. Only West Virginia’s retail casinos are eligible to apply for the licenses. Once licensed, casinos are then allowed one technology partner per license.
The interactive gaming license allows for each casino to offer both online casino games and poker. Online sports betting, also legalized through HB 2934, will entail a separate licensing procedure and set of guidelines.
Looking To Other States’ Successes
When online casinos launch, West Virginia players can expect these platforms to include virtual versions of popular casino games.
If New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware are any indication, West Virginia’s mobile casino platforms should include numerous variants of slots, as well as blackjack, video poker, roulette, craps, and other casino table games. Live dealer games, which allow for online players to interact with other players and a live dealer, could also be introduced as well.
Online casinos have proven to be a popular and growing gambling option in those other U.S. states so far. New Jersey is by far the biggest market for mobile casinos. The state has realized more than $1.4 billion in revenue from mobile casino platforms since 2013.
Mobile casinos are popular due to the ease of playing right from a desktop or mobile device. When these sites launch in West Virginia, players will have the option of depositing, playing, and withdrawing from anywhere within state borders.
West Virginia’s online casino industry could see brands like FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetMGM partner with the state’s land-based casinos. All three of these brands operate online sportsbooks in the state, as well as online casinos in other states.
West Virginia Online Gambling Overview
West Virginia Online Casinos
The passage of the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act legalized online casinos in the state in May 2019. Mobile casinos have yet to launch in the Mountain State. They could start to become available to West Virginia players by 2021.
The state’s retail casinos will own and operate all online casinos. They will have the option of collaborating with a strategic technology partner for mobile casino platforms. The West Virginia Lottery Commission will award up to five iGaming licenses to state casinos. This gives each of the state’s five land-based casinos an opportunity to launch an online casino platform.
These mobile casino platforms will incorporate geolocation technology. This will allow players 21 and over to play from anywhere in the state.
West Virginia Online Sports Betting
Retail and online sports wagering became legal in West Virginia with the passage of the West Virginia Lottery Sports Wagering Act in March 2018.
West Virginia was one of several states that passed sports betting legislation contingent on the reversal of the federal ban on sports wagering. That reversal happened in May 2018, when the Supreme Court of the United States overturned PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act).
With PASPA no longer in effect, individual states are free to legalize sports betting at a state level. West Virginia’s sports betting legislation allows for each of the state’s five land-based casinos to apply for licenses to operate both retail and online sportsbooks.
Each retail casino can partner with up to three technology partners and launch up to three different online sportsbook skins per casino. This could give West Virginia bettors as many as 15 different online sportsbooks to choose from when the industry reaches full maturity.
As of April 2020, three mobile sports betting platforms launched in West Virginia, with FanDuel Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook, and Bet MGM the first three to go live.
Online Horse Racing In West Virginia
Four of West Virginia’s land-based casinos operate as racinos, a hybrid of casino and horse or greyhound racetrack. With this tradition in place, the Mountain State is not surprisingly one of many U.S. states where online horse race betting is legal.
The three biggest mobile horse racing apps are all available to West Virginia bettors. TVG, BetAmerica, and TwinSpires all serve multiple U.S. states. They all allow for online horse race wagering on domestic and international races.
Many of these apps also stream races right on the app. This makes it easy to deposit, research, bet, and watch the race right from a mobile device or laptop.
West Virginia Fantasy Sports
The legal status of paid fantasy sports varies from state to state. Daily fantasy sports (DFS) industry leaders like DraftKings and FanDuel operate in about 40 U.S. states. Only around half of those states have legislation in place to define DFS sites as legal.
West Virginia is one of the states without explicit DFS laws in place. FanDuel, DraftKings, and other fantasy sports sites, however, are available in the state.
The closest thing to DFS legislation came in the form of a 2016 opinion from West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. Morrisey’s opinion stated that paid fantasy sports are a game of skill and are legal according to state law.
Sweepstakes Casinos In West Virginia
While the launch of state-regulated online casinos is still pending, West Virginia players do have access to sweepstakes casino sites, These include sites like Chumba Casino and Luckyland Slots.
Sweepstakes casino sites offer a variety of popular casino games. These include slots, blackjack, craps, roulette, and video poker. These platforms operate as mini-sweepstakes games.
Chumba Casino offers purchasers packages of “Gold Coins,” which can be used for play-money games on the site. With Gold Coin purchases, players also receive a gift in the forms of “Sweeps Coins.”
Sweeps Coins can be used to play in a separate set of games, called Sweeps Coins games. Players can redeem Sweeps Coins for real US dollars at a rate of SC 1 for $1 USD.
West Virginia Sweepstakes Poker Sites
Global Poker is an online poker room using the Gold Coins/Sweeps Coins sweepstakes model. VGW Malta owns and operates both Chumba Casino and Global Poker.
The cash games and tournaments on Global Poker operate as mini-sweepstakes games, with the Gold Coins play-money games separate from the Sweeps Coins games.
Like Chumba Casino, Global Poker allows players to purchase Gold Coins for the play money games. Global Poker awards a correlative amount of Sweeps Coins as a gift. Players can use the Sweeps Coins in the Sweeps Coins poker games and redeem them for real U.S. dollars.
Global Poker has the highest traffic of any U.S.-facing sweepstakes poker site, offering cash games and tournaments at a variety of stakes. Like its sister site, Global Poker offers a redemption rate of SC 1 for $1 USD.
Guide To Mobile Gambling In West Virginia
The easiest way to play on an online gambling site in West Virginia is on a desktop computer, directly through a mobile gambling platform’s official website.
No download is required to place a bet at online sportsbooks like DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, and BetMGM. All of these sites allow players to deposit, browse for lines, place bets, and withdraw right from the official site.
Sports betting is the only form of legal online gambling to launch in West Virginia so far. In the future, online casinos and poker rooms will have this same option to play on a desktop.
Apple iOS Mobile Devices
West Virginia’s legal online sportsbooks are all available as mobile apps for iPhone. This gives iOS device users the opportunity to bet with ease right from their phone.
Players can search the App Store and download the app for free. With the app downloaded, players can place bets on West Virginia’s legal online sportsbooks from anywhere in the state.
Online casinos and poker rooms, when they launch in the state, will be downloadable as iPhone apps as well.
Android Mobile Devices
Players can access all of the currently available legal online sportsbooks in West Virginia as mobile apps for Android devices. The upcoming online casino and poker platforms in the state will presumably be downloadable as Android apps as well.
Android apps must be downloaded directly from the website of an online gambling platform. The Google Play store doesn’t allow for download of real-money gambling apps.
History Of Online Gambling In West Virginia
Along with New Jersey, West Virginia was one of the original states to challenge PASPA as unconstitutional under the Tenth Amendment. As the Supreme Court of the United States deliberated on the future of the federal ban on sports betting, West Virginia went ahead with the process of drafting sports betting legislation.
Legalization Of Online Sportsbooks
The final version of West Virginia’s sports betting bill quickly passed the state Senate and House. Known as the West Virginia Lottery Sports Wagering Act, the bill passed through both state legislative chambers in February 2018.
The bill went into law in March 2018. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned PASPA in May 2018. The new era of legal retail and online sports betting in West Virginia was underway almost immediately.
The first state-regulated online sportsbook launched in December 2018. This is when BetLucky online sportsbook debuted to West Virginia bettors. BetLucky’s time as a live app was short-lived. A dispute among the site’s operators led to the platform’s shut down in March 2019.
In August 2019, both FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook launched in West Virginia. A third mobile sports betting platform, BetMGM, went live in January 2020.
Each of West Virginia’s five land-based casinos can operate up to three mobile sports betting skins. This means the number of different mobile sportsbooks in the state could reach as high as 15 in the future.
Legalization Of Online Casinos
West Virginia’s online gambling expansion continued in March 2019. This is when the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act became law. This bill legalized online casinos and poker in the state. The law’s passage made West Virginia one of five states with legalized online sports betting, casinos, and poker.
The launch of West Virginia’s online casino and poker sites is pending. These products will be owned and operated by the state’s retail casinos and licensed and regulated by the West Virginia Lottery Commission.
Live Gambling In West Virginia
West Virginia’s history of legal gambling began with the legalization of pari-mutuel horse race betting in 1933. The state’s horse racing roots are apparent in the modern-day live gambling landscape. Four of West Virginia’s land-based casinos operate as racinos, with both horse or greyhound racing and casino games on property.
All four racinos were once horse or greyhound racing only venues The transformation into casino and racing hybrid properties began in 1987. Mountaineer Park became the first racetrack in the U.S. to install slot machines on property. Further, in 1994, formal legislation was introduced to legalize video lottery terminals (slot machines) at all four of the state’s racetracks.
The state legalized table games at these racinos in 2007. With that West Virginia became a full-scale legal casino gambling state.
Live Gambling In West Virginia: An Overview
|Is lottery legal in West Virginia?||Yes; the West Virginia Lottery was established in 1986. Instant win games, in-state drawings, and multi-state games like MegaMillions and Powerball are available throughout the state|
|Does West Virginia have casinos?||Yes; West Virginia is home to five land-based casinos|
|Does West Virginia have racetracks?||Yes; West Virginia hosts four racetracks, all of which operate as racinos. Four of the five casinos in the state are also horse racetracks|
|Where else can you gamble in West Virginia?||Online sports betting legal in West Virginia, and state-regulated mobile sportsbooks allow for betting from anywhere within the state. Online casinos and poker are also legalized, but are not live yet|
|Minimum gambling age||21 (18 for horse race betting and lottery)|
|Who regulates gambling?||West Virginia Lottery|
West Virginia Casino Industry
The Mountain State is home to five casinos. This includes four racinos and the luxury hotel The Greenbrier.
The Greenbrier is located in Greenbrier County, in the southeast part of the state. It is close to the Virginia border. Of the four racinos, two are in the northernmost tip of the state (Mountaineer Casino and Wheeling Island Casino).
Hollywood Casino is in the northeast part of West Virginia, while Mardi Gras Casino lies in the west of the state.
West Virginia Casino Locations
|The Casino Club at the Greenbrier||White Sulphur Springs|
|Hollywood Casino at Charlestown Races||Charles Town|
|Mardi Gras Casino and Resort||Nitro|
|Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort||New Cumberland
|Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack||Wheeling|
Introduction Of Slots In West Virginia
The four racinos all operated for decades as standalone racetracks before the addition of casino games. Built in 1913, the Greenbrier has been considered the state’s premier luxury hotel for more than a century.
The conversion of these properties into casinos began with the approval of the Racetrack Video Lottery Act in 1994. The language of the bill referred to slot machines as video lottery terminals. This authorized state racetracks to install slots on property.
Introduction Of Tables Games And Poker
In 2007, the expansion into full-scale casino gambling in West Virginia became complete. Voters in the counties that hosted the four racetracks had the opportunity to vote on the legalization of table games on an individual county basis.
Voters approved the proposed gambling expansion at all four racetracks, which allowed for table games and poker.
Greenbrier County voters approved a measure in 2008 that allowed the Greenbrier to install a casino on property. The Casino Club at The Greenbrier opened in July 2010, with the provision that only hotel guests can gamble in the casino.
Ownership And Regulation Of West Virginia Casinos
The Justice Family Group owns and operates The Greenbrier. The family group includes West Virginia Governor Jim Justice.
Delaware North owns both the Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island properties. Gaming and Leisure Properties owns Hollywood Casino, which is operated by Penn National Gaming. Mountaineer Casino is owned by Vici Properties and operated by Century Casinos.
The West Virginia Lottery Commission oversees the state’s casino industry. Slot machines, defined as “video lottery terminals,” are also available to play at many bars, restaurants, and fraternal organizations.
The state defines table games at West Virginia’s casinos as “lottery table games.” They also fall under the jurisdiction of the West Virginia Lottery Commission.
Other Gambling In West Virginia
West Virginia Lottery
West Virginia’s state lottery industry is unique in the fact that the West Virginia Lottery Commission regulates the state’s entire casino industry.
The West Virginia Lottery began in 1984. The state established the lottery to direct sales proceeds to state causes like education, senior citizens, tourism, and state parks. Since its inception, the state lottery has produced more than $10 billion for those causes.
As of 2020, the state lottery offers numerous instant win games and in-state drawing games. West Virginia also participates in national lotteries like Powerball and MegaMillions.
West Virginia is a charter member of the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL). It was one of the seven states that launched the first multi-state lottery in the U.S. Lotto America ran from 1988-1992 before a name change to Powerball in 1992.
Legal casino gambling in West Virginia falls into the lottery category. The state legalized slot machines in 1994 as video lottery games. Similarly, the state legalized casino table games in 2007 as lottery table games.
As such, all of West Virginia’s casino revenue is categorized as lottery proceeds. Casino revenues have ranged between $1.1 and $1.54 billion annually since 2010.
Horse racing in West Virginia goes back more than 150 years. The property that’s now known as Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack opened as a thoroughbred and harness racing venue in 1866.
Pari-mutuel horse race betting was the first form of legalized gambling in West Virginia, established in 1933. Four racetracks still operate in modern-day West Virginia, all of which are racinos that offer horse or greyhound racing and casino gaming.
Off-track betting, as well as legal online horse race betting, are also available in the state.
Other Resources On West Virginia Gambling
West Virginia Lottery Official Site
West Virginia Racing Commission
West Virginia Gaming History
WV Encyclopedia Article on Lottery
West Virginia Casinos and Gaming
West Virginia Gambling FAQ
Does West Virginia have legal casino gambling?
Yes. West Virginia is home to five casinos. Four of these operate as racinos (casino and horse or greyhound racing venues) in addition to the Casino Club at Greenbrier.
These properties offer slot machines, table games, and poker. Slot machines (legally known as video lottery terminals in West Virginia) are also available at numerous bars, restaurants, and fraternal organizations throughout the state.
What’s the minimum gambling age in West Virginia?
21 (18 for lottery and horse racing). To gamble at a West Virginia casino, place a bet at an online sportsbook, or play slot machines at non-casino venues, the minimum age in 21. For horse race betting and lottery, the minimum age is 18.
Slots and casino table games in West Virginia are defined as lottery games but fall under a different category than the instant win and drawing games offered by the West Virginia Lottery.
Are casino games rigged?
No. The West Virginia Lottery Commission, a government agency, regulates all casino games in the state. The Commission and the casinos have a vested interest in ensuring casinos offer fair games.
By law, slot machines in West Virginia must payout at least 80 percent of intake. Table games play under the rules advertised at casinos.
Is online gambling legal in West Virginia?
Yes. The state legalized online sports betting in 2018 and online casinos games and poker in 2019. Online sportsbooks went live in West Virginia in 2019. Online casino games and poker are expected to launch in 2021.
West Virginia is one of five states to legalize all three verticals of online sports betting, casino games, and poker.
Can only state residents play on West Virginia’s online gambling sites?
No. Anyone within state borders, age 21 and over, can gamble online on West Virginia’s state-regulated online gambling sites.
These sites use geolocation software to determine a user’s location. No proof of residency is required.
Is 21 the minimum age for online gambling in West Virginia?
Yes. The minimum gambling age of 21 applies to both land-based casino gambling. It also applies to West Virginia online gambling.
Players who register for an account on a West Virginia online gambling site must provide proof of age, and be 21 or older, to play on the site.
Who regulates the online gambling platforms in West Virginia?
The West Virginia Lottery Commission. Slot machines are defined as “video lottery games” and table games as “lottery table games” in West Virginia. As such, the West Virginia Lottery Commission oversees all aspects of the state’s casino industry.
The West Virginia Lottery Commission also regulates sports betting, both online and live wagering.
Is online gambling safe?
Yes. All state-regulated, legal online gambling platforms are owned and operated by the state’s retail casinos. Those casinos are overseen by the West Virginia Lottery Commission, a government regulatory agency.
Gambling on a state-approved, legal online gambling platform comes with the same level of safety as gambling at a land-based casino in West Virginia.
How can I deposit and withdraw at West Virginia’s online gambling sites?
There are a variety of ways to deposit and withdraw on West Virginia’s online gambling sites. These options include debit/credit cards, prepaid debit cards, ACH/eCheck, PayPal, eWallets, and casino cage deposit.
Of these options, ACH/eCheck is one of the fastest, most reliable ways to get money on a site and start playing.
Who operates West Virginia’s online gambling platforms?
West Virginia’s legal retail casinos. All legal online gambling sites in West Virginia are owned by the state’s land-based casinos, which also have the option to utilize strategic partnerships with technology companies in operation of the sites.
For example, Hollywood Casino owns DraftKings Sportsbook WV with DraftKings Sportsbook as a designated technology partner.