It has been a roller coaster ride for the inaugural year of legal sports betting in West Virginia. The state has had its share of difficulties, but as it heads into year two, things are looking up in the Mountain State.
After WV’s first online sportsbook was only active a few months, the state’s residents now have a couple of premier options when looking to place mobile wagers. Last week, both FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook went live.
Instead of being limited to just a few retail WV sportsbooks, bettors in the state can now download either or both mobile betting platforms right to their device.
The timing couldn’t be more perfect, either.
With college football back and the NFL returning this weekend, the gambling action in WV should be heating up to new heights.
While the online sportsbooks might take over as the preferred choice of gamblers going forward, the land-based sportsbooks are still a perfect destination for game day. At the moment, there are three active retail locations accepting wagers:
There are two other casinos that offer sports betting but are currently suspended due to legal issues. While Delaware North works on finding a new betting provider, its two retail books remain closed:
Delaware North is looking to replace their initial platform, according to WV Lottery Director John Myers, but there’s been no reported progress. The two books will be missing out on the beginning of the football season at the minimum.
Let’s take a look back at the first year of regulated sports betting in WV and preview some of the local action set to take place this upcoming weekend.
WV sportsbooks turn one-year-old
Sports betting debuted in WV at the Hollywood Casino one year ago. Its sportsbook soft-launched on Aug. 30, 2018, and officially opened for business two days later.
The Hollywood Sportsbook has been the most successful of the retail sportsbooks due in large part because of its location. It’s positioned about an hour away from both Baltimore, Maryland as well as Washington, D.C.
These factors have sustained Hollywood as the top sports betting provider in the state. It is consistently reporting the highest betting handle and revenue figures weekly.
The second sportsbook to hit the WV market was the FanDuel Sportsbook at The Greenbrier. It went live shortly after Hollywood’s, on Sept. 13, 2018.
The Mountaineer Casino joined the industry later that fall. After applying for a sports betting license on Oct. 22, its sportsbook launched on Nov. 21.
WV added its last two sportsbooks in Dec. 2018 with the Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island locations. Along with the two retail books, the owner of the two casinos released the state’s first mobile betting option with the BetLucky app.
Although these were exciting times in WV, they didn’t last long. The online sportsbook, as well as its two land-based affiliates, stopped accepting wagers in March. A contract dispute between its technology provider and a third-party supplier forced all three to close for the time being.
While the BetLucky app is not expected to return, betting at both Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras Casino should resume at some point.
Ironically, as sports betting celebrates its one-year anniversary in WV, the state is turning a corner. With now two, viable online sportsbooks in FanDuel and DraftKings, WV residents can place bets with the convenience of not leaving their homes.
This should increase betting figures within the state dramatically, especially since football is back in the fold. Another mobile option in the William Hill Sportsbook is also preparing to join the market in the future, too.
With online sportsbooks finally available, WV is in a good place to take several steps forward in its second year of legal sports wagering.
Sports betting in WV for the week ahead
As the calendar turns to September, football season is back in full swing. The NFL will begin its new year and join college football as one of the top betting markets in WV.
The season started on a positive note as both WVU and Marshall football left the first weekend with a 1-0 record. The Thundering Herd put a beat down on the Virginia Military Institute 56-17, while the Mountaineers escaped their home opener with a 20-13 victory over James Madison.
Both teams face much stiffer tests in Week 2. Marshall will travel to Boise State, who is coming off an inspiring comeback win against Florida State. WVU will travel to Missouri to take on the Tigers who lost their first game by six points to Wyoming.
Although both WV teams were able to start their year off in the right direction, this week will provide a lot more information about their upcoming seasons. The Herd seem ready to go, while WVU still has some learning to do.
While the college football schedule heats up, the NFL will be making its return this weekend. The first game of the year takes place on Thursday night, while the majority of other teams take the field on Sunday, Sept. 8.
Several regional teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns have high hopes entering 2019. The two divisional rivals appear to be the preseason favorites to win the AFC North division after both missed the playoffs a year ago.
While fans of these sides can’t wait for the season to start, those who pull for the Washington Redskins and Cincinnati Bengals have slightly lowered expectations to start the year. Both teams are not projected to be in the postseason conversation.
DraftKings Sportsbook college football Week 2 and NFL week 1 lines
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, here are the early-week lines on this weekend’s massive slate of football games:
WVU vs. Missouri
- WVU +13.5 (-110)
- Missouri -13.5 (-110)
Marshall vs. Boise State
- Marshall +12 (-110)
- Boise State -12 (-110)
Cleveland Browns vs. Tennessee Titans
- CLE -5.5 (-110)
- Moneyline: -240
- TEN +5.5 (-110)
- Moneyline: +195
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New England Patriots
- PIT +5.5 (-110)
- Moneyline: +190
- NE -5.5 (-110)
- Moneyline: -235
Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles
- WAS +9.5 (-110)
- Moneyline: +325
- PHI -9.5 (-110)
- Moneyline: -420
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Seattle Seahawks
- CIN +9 (-110)
- Moneyline: +320
- SEA -9 (-110)
- Moneyline: -420