WV Sports Betting and Amended Smoking Ban Lifts Mountaineer Casino

Posted on March 14, 2019

Mountaineer Casino, one of five sportsbooks in West Virginia reported an increase in revenue after its county passed a vote to lift the smoking ban.

The Hancock County Board of Health enacted the Clean Air Regulation of 2014 to prohibit smoking in most public places.

In October 2018, the board voted to amend the regulation to allow smoking in casinos and gaming areas of local video lottery sites.

Mountaineer now on a level playing field with other WV casinos

Part of the reason for the amendment was the fact that Mountaineer Casino officials said that the smoking ban was hurting revenue. The vote passed unanimously.

John Plesa, the acting chairman of the health board during the vote, wanted the Mountaineer Casino to follow the same regulations as other competing casinos in the area that don’t have a smoking ban in place.

Plesa said:

“The motion I am wanting to make to change the policy is to get more tax revenue.”

Despite many in favor of the ruling, there were, of course, some who opposed.

Dr. Anna Suray, Hancock County’s health officer, decided to resign in protest immediately following the vote.

The law states that it’s the individual establishments prerogative as to whether to allow smoking or not. Smoking is still prohibited in every restaurant, bar, office, lobby and child care locations.

Mountaineer attributes increased revenue to sports betting and smoking

Since lifting the ban, Mountaineer has seen its revenue figures take a jump in the right direction. But it is not just because casino customers can smoke.

Eldorado Resorts, operators of Mountaineer,  said in its quarterly report that the change in the smoking ban regulation and the addition of the property’s sportsbook that helped casino achieve fourth-quarter growth of over 50 percent.

To date, Mountaineer has earned just shy of $1 million from West Virginia sports betting. It is the second-highest revenue generator behind Hollywood Casino.

It’s reasonably clear how revenue could rise by allowing customers to smoke in designated areas within the casino. Gamblers have no reason to leave their seats, which allows more time for them to bet more money.

Two WV casinos, Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras Casino sportsbooks, along with the only mobile sports betting app, BetLucky Sportsbook, temporarily suspended operations last week. As a result, Mountaineer might see another revenue bump.

Sports bettors take note: Mountaineer is just an hour’s drive north of Wheeling Island.

March Madness just around the corner and Mountaineer Casino is the best option for displaced sports bettors to get some action on the games.

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Chris Imperiale

Chris Imperiale covers sports betting and the online casino industries. He has a journalism degree from Rutgers University and was formerly on staff at Bleacher Report.

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