Lottery Director John Myers said on Wednesday that the online betting app could launch as early as next week.
Upon hearing the news, the company issued the following statement:
“We can confirm DraftKings has been taking part in the required testing phase. We do not have any firm date yet on next steps, including a soft launch or full public launch in West Virginia.”
Myers added that casino management stated they will need time for staff training prior to the soft launch. The training is expected to take place early next week.
The newest WV sportsbook: DraftKings
“They’re all (the apps) going to operate in a similar manner. They’ll have different promotional activities and things they all do a little differently than the other but in a nutshell, you’re using your cell phone to see the odds and then placing the wager on that phone.”
That is doing a disservice to DraftKings and its betting app. DraftKings is one of the leading online apps in the New Jersey market. The software was developed in house and has been well-received by bettors.
That isn’t the case for BetLucky. Even before it was forced to close its virtual betting windows, it was plagued by complaints and had limitations on its offerings.
Even if DraftKings brings only a fraction of its offerings from its NJ app to WV, it will be far ahead of BetLucky. That doesn’t matter much now, however, as it is unlikely BetLucky will return to West Virginia.
DraftKings and Hollywood Casino Sportsbook XXXX
Once DraftKings launches, Myers said he will be interested to see how it performs in terms of revenue generation.
In the weeks prior to shutting down, Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island reported more handle from online betting than from their land-based sportsbooks.
“In the months that we had it (a mobile sports betting app), it did outperform the retail location on several weeks. When (it) was up and running it produced impressive results.”
Hollywood is already the dominant sports betting revenue generator in the state. It brings in more handle than the four other state casinos combined.
Online betting already gave bettors a taste of convenience and accessibility. It is fair to say, the sports betting market has been longing for the day it would return. As such, DraftKings will likely be rewarded for being the online app to bring it back.
Wire Act still causing some uncertainty
Uncertainty surrounding the legality of online sports betting slowed the launch of new online apps in the Mountain State. It stems from a revised Department of Justice interpretation of the Federal Wire Act.
Just last month, Myers stated that the state’s casinos were concerned that they could be in violation of a strict interpretation of the Wire Act if sports betting data was sent via servers outside of West Virginia.
The Lottery was waiting for clarification before proceeding. However, a hearing on the subject in US District Court appeared to be positive for online sportsbooks and casinos.
On Wednesday, after the successful testing of DraftKings, Myers said:
“We’ve had a lot of discussions with the mobile app providers, and we feel like we’ve been able to locate the servers in question in West Virginia so the information won’t travel across state lines.”
Past WV online sports betting woes
As mentioned, West Virginia did have online sports betting provided through the BetLucky app for a few months.
Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island launched their retail sportsbooks and online apps in Dec. 2018.
However, a contract dispute between the app provider and its software provider forced it to shut down of the retail books and the app, just a few months later in March.
Delaware North, the owner of the two casinos, was caught in the middle. The sportsbooks at both Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island are still closed while Delaware North seeks a new partner.
More online sports betting apps coming
With DraftKings on the verge of re-launching the online sports betting market in West Virginia, other providers are sure to follow suit.
Both companies’ apps received approval to operate online betting in WV. Once DraftKings launches, expect the other two apps to come online relatively soon.
It’s no surprise that the first to market has the advantage of being the only game in town. If DraftKings acquires customers and keeps them happy, it will be a tough task for another company to pry them away.