West Virginia Sports Betting Continues to Struggle
West Virginia was one of the first states in the US to offer legalized sports betting. The state not only provided land-based options but also online. Delaware North operated online sports betting via the BetLucky brand and in-person options at the Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras casinos. For a time, sports betting was prosperous in the state. However, an unexpected shutdown of Delaware North services led to a massive drop in offerings and the state has struggled to catch up ever since.
Trying to Move Forward
It was in early March that Delaware North saw their online and land-based sports betting services shut down unexpectedly. When this happened, it was soon discovered that the company’s partner Miomni Gaming had a third party vendor that Delaware North was unaware of. Entergaming, the third-party vendor, shut down the services due to a contract dispute. For months now, the state has been without online gaming and less options for land-based wagering
However, hope was in the cards as several other operators were approved for online sports betting, including DraftKings. Yet, the brand was unable to launch quickly due to Wire Act issues. When the Wire Act was changed earlier in the year, it led to worry that online operations would not be in compliance with the new opinion. The Department of Justice decided to rule that the Wire Act applies to not just sports betting on an interstate level but all gambling. DraftKings has been working to ensure a network server is located in West Virginia so they can be in compliance with the new regulations.
Thankfully, the Wire Act changes have been challenged and New Hampshire is currently on the winning side. The state has been battling the Wire Act changes by the DOJ and recently were approved to continue with a lawsuit to sue the federal government as their lottery industry is put at risk due to the legislative changes. A federal judge ruled in favor of NH stating that the Wire Act only applies to sports betting.
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For now, it is a waiting game when it comes to online sports betting services in the state. Delaware North is no where near getting back in the game, so it seems. DraftKings is working on getting started, but seemingly delayed. FanDuel and William Hill have also been approved for online sports betting but a timeline for launch has yet to be announced.
Once online options are up and running, the state should see a significant turnaround when it comes to revenues in the industry. Right now, players are limited to in-house betting. This means having to travel to the Hollywood Casino, the Mountaineer and The Greenbrier.
Having to travel puts a damper on wagering especially considering that many residents in the state are a far drive from the betting location. With mobile and online options, players will be able to place wagers from the comfort of home, which makes things much easier. Players are more willing to wager if they can simply push a button rather than having to travel a long distance to visit a sportsbook.
One could imagine that the online sports betting operators like William Hill, FanDuel and DraftKings will at least be ready to offer services by the upcoming NFL season. The sport is a busy time for betting and the operators still have many months to prepare before the football season begins.