West Virginia was one of the first states in the US to approve and begin offering legalized sports betting. The state offered both online and land-based services until one operator was shutdown unexpectedly. A third-party vendor issue involving Delaware North caused the online sports betting brand of BetLucky as well as their land-based services at Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras Casino to be cut off. Since early March when the shutdown occurred, the state has been experiencing low revenue numbers. Thankfully several operators have been approved for online sports betting in the state and one may be soft launching this week!
DraftKings is Ready
Media reports have stated that DraftKings is ready to launch their online sportsbook in West Virginia, most likely sometime this week. The launch come at a time when the state is having difficulty earning revenues from the new industry. Also in the mix will be William Hill and FanDuel, two companies who were also approved for online sports betting operations.
The new DraftKings sportsbook will be connected to the Hollywood Casino operated by Penn National Gaming. The two signed a deal back in December of last year and are now preparing to reap the rewards.
Since August 2018, sports betting in the state has generated just over $116 million in betting handle with $11 million in revenues. Taxes resulted in just over $1.1 million. These numbers would be much higher if online gaming were back in the mix.
Players are much more likely to place a wager via mobile or online than to visit a gaming venue, particularly when the options are limited nearby. When a state can provide online betting services, players can place a wager any time they like, instead of having to travel to a location and physically place the wager.
Push in the Right Direction
Once DraftKings is launched, we should see William Hill and FanDuel not far behind. The hope is that once the first launch is in the books, others will follow suit. As DraftKings gets going, they will start to build a client list in the state. The other casinos could fall behind if DraftKings begins to take on the market share, especially if there is considerable time in between the launches.
Right now, West Virginia needs help. The current sportsbooks in operation are barely hitting the five-figure mark in revenues, much less into the six-figure range. The state is not earning as much as they would like by way of taxes and operators may be feeling a bit overwhelmed.
We shall see in the coming weeks how the state adapts overall as additional online sports books are launched. Hopefully, the new apps and online offerings will be enough to push the operators into the black rather than seeing red. If DraftKings is able to launch this week, the soft launch will have to take place to make sure operations run smoothly before a full launch will be approved.