Believe it or not, West Virginia sports betting has quickly become one of the major talking points in the US legal gambling market. While everyone first thinks of New Jersey and Nevada when it comes to placing wagers on sports teams, the Mountain State is putting up a valiant fight. Despite only having 1.792 mils. residents, WV has always been a safe haven for gambling enthusiasts.
Although some might consider West Virginia an underdog in this conversation, the truth is actually much, much different. This small state, tucked away in the Appalachian Mountain, can serve as an excellent example of a successful sports betting rollout. And given the fact that this popular pastime is getting even more popular in the entire country, WV may very well become a valuable blueprint, so to speak.
Hassle-free sports betting experience
So, what did they do? What does West Virginia sports betting include? Are there any weird rules or stipulations? It’s precisely these questions (and many others, too) that we intend to answer in this detailed guide. We took a look at the state’s gambling history, its current laws and regulations, as well as the best West Virginia betting sites.
Once you’re done reading, you’ll be able to have a hassle-free sports betting experience. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or an up-and-coming rookie — it doesn’t matter! Your betting sessions will be smooth and simple, regardless of all the other factors. Strap in and prepare to enter the wonderful world of WV sportsbooks!
The History of West Virginia Sports Betting
Even though most neighboring states have had (and still have) a rocking relationship with sports betting, West Virginia was always somewhat of a trailblazer. Back in the 1930s, they were one of the only states to officially legalize greyhound racing and horse racing. They also encouraged pari-mutuel betting AKA pool bets, which introduced many sports enthusiasts to the betting world.
Not only did this liberal stance boost the state’s economy, but it also put West Virginia on the map as a gambling hotspot. Due to its position, between the Eastern Seabord and the Midwest, people from Ohio, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and even D.C. flocked to WV in order to enjoy a bet or two.
While sports betting is now legal in Pennsylvania, West Virginia is still one of the only states in the region that welcome bettors. WV further capitalized on its unique position by legalizing online sportsbooks in 2018, but this change wasn’t a sudden one. Oh no, it’s the result of a long string of developments. Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we?
Building a Proper Gambling Infrastructure
The thing about West Virginia is that, while gambling was always ubiquitous, the state lacked the proper legal framework to regulate it. All of this changed in 1987, when legislators decided to legalize video lottery terminals (VLTs). This was the first step towards regulated gambling, whether it’s casino gambling or sports betting. At first, the use was limited to Mountaineer Park, one of West Virginia’s oldest racetracks.
In 1994, the next domino fell. With the passing of the West Virginia Racetrack Video Lottery Act, the other four racetracks in the state could field their own VLT offers. Immediately upon the act became law, Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island introduced VLTs. As amazing as it sounds, WV really did receive more than 1,200 new VLTs in 1994 alone. That’s a tremendous increase for such a small state.
The next major law to impact West Virginia’s gambling market was the Limited Video Lottery Act of 2001. It finally addressed the massive number of video poker machines in the state, all of which existed in a perpetual grey area, in terms of legality. While they were not illegal per se, they also weren’t regulated by the law. The Limited Video Lottery Act tackled this issue, forcing venue owners to remove all non-legal terminals, and put a cap on the total number of video poker machines at 9,000.
Unlike ever before, residents of the Mountain State finally had a properly regulated gambling market. Nevertheless, there was still a couple of hurdles to pass before West Virginia sports betting became a reality.
A Bit Closer to West Virginia Sports Betting
The late 2000s was when things really got hectic in WV. 2007 saw the first full-fledged casinos, as several racetracks began opening their own casino floors. Instead of races being the only thing available, visitors could now enjoy table games such as blackjack, poker, roulette, baccarat, or craps.
With more and more people gaining access to legal gambling in West Virginia, legislators were finally aware of how beneficial a proper framework could be. Still, online sports betting and casino games were still far from being possible, due to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA). Nevertheless, this small state was moving forward at a rapid pace, which was something few people expected.
What’s also interesting is the pace at which West Virginia rolled out its gambling-related laws and regulations. In the last few years, we’ve often seen states suddenly take notice of the economic benefits of gambling. Usually, this results in sudden changes in legislation. WV, on the other hand, gradually upgraded its legal framework. This slow, but consistent pace led to a hiccup-less approach to developing new additions.
When Did West Virginia Sports Betting Become Legal?
Even though facilities that were once racetracks became legitimate casinos, ‘West Virginia sportsbooks’ was still an abstract term. Regardless, this state was once again ready to be at the forefront of a gambling revolution. You see, sports betting has been federally illegal ever since 1992, when the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA)was passed.
However, this long-standing law was suddenly under fire, as New Jersey Governor, Chris Christe, sought to ignore PASPA altogether. Despite the federal ban on sports betting, NJ legislators passed a bill that would legalize sports betting. The NCAA sued, with Christie seeking to repeal PASPA, as he argued that it was unconstitutional. Eventually, Christie v. NCAA went all the way to the Supreme Court and was later ‘inherited’ by Christie’s successor, Phil Murphy.
Around this time, several other states followed suit passing landmark bills. Thus, West Virginia sports betting became legal in April 2018, with SB 415 . The Mountain state followed New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, and Mississippi in creating a legal framework.
On May 14, 2018, the Supreme Court legalized sports betting on a federal level. With a 7-2 vote in favor of Murphy and the state of New Jersey, PASPA was officially found to be in direct conflict with the Tenth Amendment. States were now free to make wagers on sports events legal. West Virginia was the third to see to actually allow players to try the framework out.
The Growing Pains of WV Sportsbooks
Retail betting debuted in August 2018, with great success. Unlike other states, which wanted to attract brand new licensees, West Virginia’s legislators made it so only the state’s five existing racetracks can apply for a license. They are:
- The Casino Club at The Greenbrier Resort
- Hollywood Casino
- The Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack, and Resort
- Mardi Gras Casino
- Wheeling Island Casino
In December of the same year, online sports betting made its first appearance in WV. The first app, BetLucky quickly went bust in March 2019, due to legal issues. What followed was a rough few months, until FanDuel and DraftKings arrived. BetMGM and William Hill joined the first pair, as this diminutive Appalachian state suddenly had some of the best betting sites in the whole South.
Who Can Receive a Sports Betting License in West Virginia?
In WV, the West Virginia Lottery Commission is the regulatory body tasked with issuing sports betting licenses. Only the five aforementioned casinos/racetracks can apply for one, and it costs $250,000. After five years, the licensee can pay $100,000 to renew it for another five years. Compared to other states, this is neither too cheap nor too expensive.
However, one thing that’s interesting is the fact that West Virginia sportsbooks only have to pay 10% of the revenue in the form of taxes. Compare that to Pennsylvania’s 36% tax rate on gross sports betting revenue, and you see why West Virginia has no problem attracting interest, both domestically and from abroad.
While only five brick-and-mortar casinos can offer West Virginia sports betting online, each casino can offer up to three different skins. This means that there can be up to 15 WV sportsbooks. Despite this relatively liberal limit, experts generally believe that this number won’t be reached for a while. Why exactly?
Well, West Virginia sports betting is still in its infancy. And even if it spreads like wildfire in 2022, there’s still a market cap of fewer than 2 million people. Too many options would cause running a sportsbook to be an unprofitable venture for every casino and operator. Still, with the low tax rate and a relatively new market, we may see some experimenting in the future.
Who Can Bet on Sports Events in West Virginia?
Now that you know what led to WV finally getting online sportsbooks, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty. Before you pick a betting site and start playing, you need to know if you’re eligible to partake in this activity. According to state legislation, you can place bets if you’re:
- 21 or older. West Virginia sportsbooks usually request your DOB, SSN, and may even ask you for a document scan. While it may be unsettling to share your personal information with a betting site, you can rest assured that all four sportsbooks available to WV bettors are safe. This procedure is to ensure that no underage gambling is taking place.
- Located in West Virginia. Betting sites use geolocation technology to determine your exact coordinates. WV sportsbooks are ‘programmed’ so that only allow access from devices that are within the state. Even though sites like FanDuel or BetMGM are available in other states, you won’t be able to access the WV skin if you’re somewhere else.
- Not on a self-exclusion list. West Virginia sports betting laws don’t just define what you can bet on, but they also protect vulnerable individuals. Thus, you are banned from placing wagers on sports events if you’ve added yourself to a self-exclusion list in the past. It’s a great thing to see measures designed to tackle problem gambling being included in sports betting laws.
- Not an athlete or a team official of a league you’re betting on. While sportsbooks and sports teams can’t exist without one another, placing wagers mustn’t affect the fairness nor the integrity of any sporting event. Any person with inside knowledge of the sport as a whole or any event in particular is banned from betting on said sport. However, the limit doesn’t extend to athletes or officials from other sports. If you’re, let’s say, a GM for a minor league basketball team, you can bet on baseball. If it’s basketball we’re talking about, then it’s a big no-no.
Can You Bet on In-State College Sports in West Virginia?
When states began legalizing sports betting, a debate was suddenly sparked up. Despite PASPA being deemed unconstitutional, some legislators were still worried that betting on college sports would damage the integrity of the players, the teams, and the NCAA as a whole. To come to a Solomonic solution, states like New Jersey banned betting on college events taking place in the state.
In West Virginia, there was no such situation. You can bet on college teams, regardless of where they’re based or where their games take place. In WV, there are no professional teams from the ‘Big Four’ sports leagues, so it’s great to see lawmakers allow players to bet on some of the most coveted games in the nation. When March Madness or the College Football Playoff roll around, you can join in on the fun!
Can you Bet on High School Sports in West Virginia?
No, betting on high school sporting events is not allowed in West Virginia. The law states that bets can only be made on events where all the participants are 18 years or older. Since this is the case when it comes to high school competition, you will never be able to place wagers on any event below the NCAA level.
However, this becomes a problem with eSports. Even though West Virginia sports betting also includes eSports, it’s a widely known fact that many competitors are 18 or younger. Despite this conundrum, you can still place bets on eSports events. It’s likely that no one raised an issue over this because these events almost never take place within West Virginia. If there are some changes, we will update this article immediately upon receiving confirmation.
How to Start with West Virginia Sports Betting?
With a functional framework and a growing market, now is probably the best time to start playing at WV sportsbooks. You’ll be pleased to know that you don’t have to register in person. This means that you aren’t required to take those long drives to your nearest land-based casino. Instead, getting started with West Virginia sports betting is a simple, six-step process. Here’s what you need to do:
Learn how to bet on sportsWhether it’s betting on horse races or something else, every sport has its own special caveats and bets you can make. Make sure you know the sport well before placing any wagers. It’s essential that you feel comfortable. When you’re relaxed, you’re not prone to making rash decisions, which automatically increases your chances of winning.
Pick a legal sportsbookFanDuel, DraftKings, William Hill, and BetMGM are the four options currently available to West Virginia sports betting enthusiasts. We’ll cover them more in a bit, but you really can’t go wrong with either option.
Sign upProvide some basic information, pick a username, verify your email, and you’re good to go. Again — you have nothing to worry about when it comes to security. All of these betting sites are overseen by the West Virginia Lottery Commission and are in compliance with both state and federal laws.
Download the appEven though you can still bet through the browser version of the site, sportsbook apps provide a much better experience. Once you’ve picked a brand you like, and you’ve signed up, you just need to go to the Play Store/App Store and download the app to your phone.
Pick up a bonusJust like West Virginia online casinos, sportsbooks have their own deals, promotions, and welcome bundles. Before making a deposit, you should take a look around at what the site offers and choose an option that provides the most value.
Deposit money into your accountWhether it’s claiming a bonus or just placing a bet outright, you need funds in your balance. Pick a payment option that you already use for your everyday needs, just so you don’t have to learn extra things. Once that first deposit goes through, you’re good to go and ready to play at WV sportsbooks.
What is the Best Betting Site in West Virginia?
As of April 2021, there are four online sportsbooks available to West Virginian players. This is a great thing, as you actually have a solid amount of choices. And the best part? They all come from experienced operators who collaborate with WV racetracks/casinos. In this section, we’ll take a quick look at all four and highlight their best features and perks.
DraftKings West Virginia Review
One of the best sports betting brands in the entire country, DraftKings first became known for its ambitious foray into daily fantasy sports (DFS). It was also the first fully functional sportsbook in West Virginia. Even though its competitors are putting up a valiant fight, DraftKings still refuses to relinquish its position in the market.
Great Educational Content
We believe DraftKings is a great place for those of you who haven’t had previous experience, not just with West Virginia sports betting, but sports betting as a whole. On their homepage, they have a ‘How to Bet’ section, with lessons centered around each bet type. This is not something you see every day and it’s a great way to get rookies up to speed. If you’re unsure about what to do at online sportsbooks, DraftKings just may be your one-stop shop for acquiring this knowledge and using it to gain value.
Nice Array of Payment Options
DraftKings does offer a lot of sports to bet on, but we believe the true highlight of this sportsbook are the payment options. You can fund your account using VISA, AmEx, MasterCard, ACH, PayPal, and even prepaid cards. Wire transfers can also be used, as well. The minimum deposit is $10, which is low enough to allow you to test the site, without risking too much money in the process.
FanDuel West Virginia Review
DraftKings’ main competitor, FanDuel, arrived in WV around the same time their rival did. With this sportsbook, you pretty much know what to expect. Their reputation precedes them, and you can see a lot of the same features from their website skins in other states. If you ask us, we believe the crown jewel of FanDuel is their immense offer of both sports and markets.
Lots of Things to Bet On
West Virginia sports betting is mainly about having as many choices as you can. Well, FanDuel has that covered. You can bet on 15+ different sports, including niche ones such as Aussie rules, cricket, and darts. What surprised us is the consistent market diversity. Just because a sport isn’t popular in WV, that doesn’t mean all events will have just 5-10 markets. Special bets are ubiquitous, so Top10USAcasino believes this is a great place for those of you that want to delve deep into the sports you follow and bet on.
Great Customer Support
FanDuel has customer support down to a science. With live chat, email, and phone all being available, you can easily reach out for help. On top of all this, the site has a great Help section, with information on everything from taxes, markets, and special bets. We also like the fact that you can set your own custom betting limits. Now that’s what we call being responsible and devoted to the customer. Good job, FanDuel!
BetMGM West Virginia Review
Partnered with the Greenbrier, BetMGM is another reputable operator that has entered the West Virginia sports betting market. While they may not be as renowned as FanDuel or DraftKings, it’s still a solid option for Super Bowl betting, as well as other big sporting events. Compared to other sportsbooks, BetMGM is by far the most well-balanced one, scoring well in almost every important category.
Stellar Bonuses & Promotions
BetMGM are masters of providing value. The first proof of this is the current welcome bonus, which comes in the form of a $600 no-risk bet. We’ve usually seen such promotions, but with a cap of $50 or $100 in rare cases. BetMGM simply leapfrogs these usual numbers, providing you with the opportunity to win big on your first try. Just enter PLAYBONUS and it’s yours. There also other exciting promos, such as Refer Your Friends (and get a free $100 bet), NBA Parlay Boost, and much more.
Here’s something you don’t see every day – bettor’s insurance. While you won’t be immune to losing at BetMGM, this sportsbook allows you to soothe the bitterness of a loss with Free Bet money. For instance, if a pregame NFL get goes bust because the game went to overtime, you can get up to $25 back. Parlays are also insured up to the same amount, which comes in handy if one leg is all that prevents you from breaking the bank.
William Hill West Virginia Review
While BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel all know what American bettors want, William Hill brings that international flavor that West Virginia sports betting sorely needs. One of the most esteemed brands in gambling as a whole, this British company arrived to the party a bit late, but they’ve been more than able to make up for lost time.
William Hill is widely available in all four corners of the world. This means that they have ample experience in tweaking their software to suit the target market. And, oh boy, their West Virginia app is certainly a beauty. It has probably the best UI we’ve seen in the Mountaineer State. Everything is simple, there’s no clutter, and even an absolute novice can create a parlay in just a few minutes. The way in which every bit of content is organized will definitely amaze you and make your playing hours very enjoyable.
Promoting Responsible Gambling
If there’s something we at Top10USAcasino love, that’s taking a responsible stance towards West Virginia sports betting. After all, you’re still gambling. To help you, or anyone you know, resolve any issues, William Hill has several protocols. Throughout the app, you can find links to organizations, as well as their contact info. You can self-exclude yourself from the platform anywhere from 1 to 5 years. There’s also the option of cooling off for 1 to 30 days, as well as a questionnaire that can help assess the level of risk of problem gambling. You can fill it out for a friend, too.
What Types of Bets Can You Place at West Virginia Sportsbooks?
Congratulations, now you have all the knowledge you need about the sportsbooks that make West Virginia sports betting so great. But, that’s not enough to ensure a great start to your experience. Before you wager any sort of money, you need to be aware of what bets you can place. After testing FanDuel, DraftKings, William Hill, and BetMGM, we’ve realized that these bets are the most common ones. Master them, and you’ll be able to increase your chances of winning on a regular basis:
MoneylinesThis is the most basic bet out there. You’re just betting on which team will win the event. Wagering money on the underdog gives you greater potential winnings, but only because such an outcome is less probable than the favorite winning the game/match.
TotalsUnsure about who will win? Doesn’t matter! You can still win by betting on the total number of goals/points scored throughout the match. If you know both teams well, you can accurately gauge whether it will be a high-scoring affair or not.
SpreadsSportsbooks add points to the underdog, allowing you to win even if the team doesn’t actually win. Basically, even if they lose by a certain number of points, you can still win and cash out later on.
ParlaysAlso known as a multi-bet, this format lets you fuse multiple bets into a big one, which only wins if all the smaller bets AKA legs win, too.
Prop betsDon’t want to get into the nitty-gritty of how the teams match up against one another? No worries, prop bets allow you to focus on one player and make predictions that don’t have much to do with the game’s outcome.
Live betsUnlike pre-game betting, live betting allows you to place bets when the game is already underway. This can be a great way to win quickly, as a comeback or a few lucky plays can cause a turnaround that can make any odds worthwhile.
West Virginia Sports Betting FAQ
Q: Is sports betting legal in West Virginia?
A: Yes, ever since the US Supreme Court declared PASPA to be unconstitutional, West Virginias can place their bets both at retail and online sportsbooks.
Q: How old do I have to be to partake in West Virginia sports betting?
A: You have to be 21 or older in order to register at WV sportsbooks.
Q: How many sportsbooks are there in West Virginia?
A: As of April 2021, there are four sportsbook apps in West Virginia — DraftKings, FanDuel, William Hill, and BetMGM.
Q: Who regulates West Virginia sports betting?
A: The West Virginia Lottery Commission is the regulatory body tasked with overseeing and regulating all sports betting activities within the state.
Q: Can I bet on college sports in West Virginia?
A: Yes, West Virginia allows bettors to place wagers on college teams, regardless of where the event takes place.
Q: Is live betting legal in West Virginia?
A: Yes, you can legally place bets while a sporting event is already underway.