West Virginia was one of the first states out of the box to legalize online casino gambling. However, while it lags, the state has seen other states get their gambling platforms up and running. It now appears that West Virginia has finally started to take the first steps toward offering online gambling. However, it will most likely be next summer before the online platform is ready.
West Virginia has had gambling since 1995. The casinos are in the form of racinos, which means you will find them in racetracks. The one exception is the club at The Greenbrier, a resort in the mountains. However, the resort limits gambling to those who are staying in the hotel. The casino racetracks have been popular in the state. West Virginia also has a lottery.
Over the years, West Virginia has seen its revenue from gambling increase dramatically. In 1995, when casino gambling first began, the state saw $28 million in tax revenue. When it legalized table games in 2008, the revenue from gambling was $943 million. Although the state had a slide because of the Great Recession, it has rebounded. Gambling revenue accounted for $600 million for the state in 2018. Because of the amount of money flowing into the state, West Virginia decided to continue to offer more gambling opportunities. The Mountain State legalized sports gambling last year and decided this year to offer online gambling.
While many West Virginians applauded the increase in gambling offerings, there have also been a few stumbling blocks. First, the drive toward sports betting has not been smooth. Two of the sportsbooks the state hoped to have are now closed. The mobile sports betting app that the state launched with a lot of fanfare earlier this year has also closed.
Much of the issues with the sports betting applications stem from corporate and legal disputes between two gambling companies. The companies are Delaware North, which operates the Mardi Gras Racino and the Wheeling Island Racino, and Mionmi Gaming. Mionmi Gaming is a gaming company that provides a platform for online sportsbooks. West Virginia has approved William Hill, FanDuel, and DraftKings to operate sportsbooks. However, there is no set timeline for the online sportsbooks to come back to the state. Hopefully, they will be up and running by the end of this month. That’s when football season begins.
Although there have been problems with sportsbooks going online, the state is moving forward with its plans. West Virginia lawmakers approved online casino games in March. It was the fifth state to approve online casino gambling. Other states that have legalized online casino gambling include Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. West Virginia law will allow people to play casino games, such as blackjack, craps, poker, slots, and roulette. The West Virginia Lottery is responsible for managing the online casinos.
West Virginia has estimated it will be able to launch online poker rooms by the end of the year. The lottery corporation said it will take longer to put policies and procedures in place for other casino games. The lottery will contract with other businesses to offer online gambling platforms. This is what West Virginia did with sportsbooks as well. The state plans to charge $250,000 for the initial gaming license. Renewals for online gambling licenses will cost $100,000. Companies that want to manage online gambling platforms will also pay $100,000. Suppliers for online gamblers will have to pay $10,000. The state will tax all online revenue at 15 percent. West Virginia hopes online gaming will be up and running for online and mobile betting before the summer of 2020.
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