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Guide: Online Gambling in West Virginia
From horse racing and sports betting to poker tables and slot machines, West Virginia stands out as a gambling-friendly state in the eastern part of the country. Although the Mountain State does not have any tribal casinos, it’s seven casinos and racetracks offer a range of betting options for both residents and visitors to enjoy. Gamblers in West Virginia have one more thing to celebrate as 2019 marks the year that online gambling has finally passed in the state senate.
Although online gambling just became legal in the Mountain State, gambling has a long history in this eastern US state in the Appalachians. In fact, the state of West Virginia actually became the first in the region to legalize most types of gambling. Long before the state welcomed online casinos to the fray, folks could place bets on anything from horse and greyhound racing to state lottery tickets.
A Brief Look at Gambling in West Virginia
Altogether, the state of West Virginia has seven land-based casinos. Some of the brick-and-mortar casinos are known as racinos. They started out with legalized betting on horse and dog racing. Today they combine racing with casino gaming. Although not exactly Las Vegas or Atlantic City, the state also has a few casino resorts and hotels.
The first legalized gambling passed back in 1931 allowing bets on racing only. Then decades later in 1980, the Mountain State government passed a series of laws permitting bingo. Not long after in 1984, the state welcomed a new type of gambling that has become tremendously popular among Americans: the lottery. Ten years later, in 1994, West Virginia lawmakers granted video lottery at racing tracks. Later in 2001, laws allowed video lottery at bars, too. Finally, table games like blackjack and roulette became legal only in 2008.
A Deeper Dive into West Virginia Gambling
Americans love a chance to become a millionaire by purchasing a lottery ticket. Who knows? Picking the right numbers or a simple scratch off a space on a card could turn you rich overnight. As members of the Multi-State Lottery Association, West Virginia has run its state lottery since the 1980s. Participants over the age of 18 can buy a lottery ticket or scratch and win card. Some of the most popular lottery games include:
- Daily 3: Win up to $500 for selecting 3 winning numbers on a ticket
- Daily 4: Win up to $5,000 for choosing 4 winning numbers on a lottery ticket
- Cash 25: Lottery drawings with a top prize of $25,000
- Powerball: The famous multi-state lottery game with a $20 million jackpot
- Mega Millions: A multi-state lottery game with prizes worth millions
- MegaHits: Progressive jackpots available at video lottery terminals
- Hot Lotto: A jackpot lottery with prizes starting at $1 million
The nineties really ushered in a new era for the gambling industry in West Virginia as lawmakers granted licenses for four major race tracks to allow different kinds of gambling. WV race tracks like Charles Town, Chester, Wheeling Island, and Mardis Gras got the go-ahead from the government to offer slots and other popular video betting at their tracks. Then a fifth casino, Greenbrier Hotel and Casino, entered the gambling arena in 2010.
The cash cow really came along when regulated table games and poker rooms finally made their way into the Mountain State. Table and poker players could finally try their luck on tournaments and cash games offered throughout statewide casinos.
Today, fans of traditional casino games can get their fix playing all types of table and card games like blackjack, craps, roulette, slot machines, video poker, baccarat, Spanish 21, and mini-baccarat. Americans love themselves some poker, and West Virginia has lots of versions available at its casinos including Pai Gow Poker, Texas Hold’em, Let it Ride, 3-Card Poker, 7 Card Stud, 4-Card Poker, Big 6, Omaha, Double Draw, Mississippi Stud, Criss Cross.
Online Gaming and the Future of West Virginia Online Casinos
Although not quite New Jersey or Nevada yet, all in all, you could call West Virginia a gambling-friendly place. It may have taken some time for the state to warm up to the idea of online casinos, it seems the time has finally come for state residents and visitors to enjoy a bit of betting at permitted gambling sites. In the spring of 2019, the WV government passed a bill that would allow online bets including online sports book, poker, table games, and slots. However, the industry has only just begun, and it still remains to be seen which online casinos and betting apps will come out on top offering the best legal online casinos in West Virginia.
Gambling in West Virginia: What’s Legal?
- Year West Virginia regulated offline and online gambling: 2019
- West Virginia gambling age: 18
- Legal casino games in West Virginia: Sports betting, table and card games, slots
- Number of commercial casinos: 5
For close to a century, the state of West Virginia has permitted legal gambling within its borders. However, the type of legal gambling has evolved. Betting on horse and dog racing has been allowed for many decades as far back as the 1930s. Later, the state passed laws allowing many popular casino games like slots, blackjack, and poker in land-based, licensed gambling establishments. Finally, in 2019, West Virginia became the fifth state to allow online betting including sportsbook and casino games.
Although West Virginia represents one of the more lenient and laid-back states in terms of gambling, lawmakers do have some strict codes in terms of what counts as legal or not. Penalties for illegal gambling can range from fines between $5 to $1,000 with jail time of two up to 12 months. Gamblers should be aware of a few of the laws regarding legal gambling in West Virginia:
- West Virginia considers it a misdemeanor for keeping an illegal keno table, faro table, or slot machine with a punishment of two up to 12 months in jail and fines between $100 to $1,000
- In West Virginia, illegally having a gaming table or device is considered a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to one year in prison and a fine between $100-$1,000
- You could get fined between $5 to $100 and spend up to 3 months in county jail for betting in an illegal gaming establishment.
- Promoting an illegal gambling establishment could get you up to a year in jail with a maximum fine of $1,000.
- West Virginia has banned betting of any kind on animal fighting which includes, and is not limited to, dogfighting and cockfighting.
The state has more than just these several laws on the books. Therefore, we suggest sticking to betting with the well-reputed betting companies and land-based casinos to avoid any fines or arrests due to illegal gambling. When in doubt, check with the licenses of the casino, racino, or online casino. You can also double check online to ensure their reputation and avoid blacklisted or illegal gambling establishments.
Online Casinos, Sportsbooks and Poker in West Virgina are Legal
A lot of time has passed since the state of West Virginia first permitted gambling within its borders in 1931 with the legalization of betting on racing. Almost a century later, West Virginia has finally passed laws allowing online casinos within the state, as of March 2019.
The West Virginia Senate passed the online gambling bill with flying colors (a 26-7 vote) before Governor Jim Justice (Republican) made it official with only a few minor changes. Now visitors and citizens want to know: what kind of gambling can they enjoy now that online casinos can operate in the state of West Virginia? Here’s the quick answer:
Legal Online Gambling in West Virginia as of 2019:
- Online casinos
- Mobile sports betting
- Online Bingo
- Online Poker
- Fantasy Sports
The state represents the fifth in the country to actually allow online casinos. With that, West Virginia has now legalized online sports betting, poker, mobile sports betting, and online casino gambling.
How to Choose the Best Online Casino in West Virginia
The online casino industry has only just started in West Virginia, but industry experts expect the online gaming market to start booming once things get established. It may take some months at first, but already a few brands have come forward offering sportsbook and other forms of online betting. In the coming years, more online casinos will emerge, and choosing the best gambling sites in West Virginia will enhance your gaming experience and get you more bang for your buck.
If you haven’t gambled online before or even visited a land-based casino, you can look for a few things when choosing the best online casinos in West Virginia.
A Variety of Casino Game Options
When choosing an online casino, you’ll want to make sure that the gambling site has all the games you want to play. If you love slots, check the gaming section to find out the variety of slots available. Some of the best casinos worldwide have hundreds of slot machines, from classic 3 and 5-reel fruit machines to more state-of-the-art video slots.
Are table games more your speed? With the new online gambling law in West Virginia, players will have access to all kinds of online table and card games, from craps and roulette to online blackjack and poker rooms. As of 2019, West Virginians will have the chance to play their favorite online casino games right at home or on the go using mobile casino apps.
You may also want to keep an eye out for live casinos. These types of table and card games stream live video feed from real casinos. During the game, you can interact with the dealer and other players for an exciting interactive online gaming experience.
Sportsbook has already come to the forefront of online gambling in the state of West Virginia. Apps like BetLucky offer sports betting so you can really get in on the action while watching your favorite football teams, basketball players, hockey matches, and more. Meanwhile, betting on fantasy sports gives a chance to create your own teams with top players and win cash.
Look for the Biggest Online Casino Bonuses
If you really want to get more bang for your buck, you’ll want to look for the biggest online casino bonuses and promotions.
Welcome Bonuses for new players: In order to attract new players, online casinos will often give away free money in the form of welcome bonuses, for example. Often times, players will need to make a deposit. Then the casino will match that deposit up to a certain amount, sometimes into the thousands.
Ongoing online casino bonuses and promotions: You won’t want to join a casino that simply hooks you in the beginning, but gives nothing back after sticking around. Before joining the casino, make sure to check out the online casino bonuses available to returning players.
You can usually find out current bonuses in the promotions page or calendar. You can look for freebies like refer-a-friend bonuses, match deposit offers, holiday promotions, and other lucrative bonuses. By taking advantage of these offers, you’ll end up with more betting money and bigger profits in the end.
The VIP Treatment: If you live in the state and intend to play West Virginia online casinos often then you should look for a gambling site with a VIP club or loyalty points program. Often times, players can earn points to qualify for benefits, prizes, and exclusive bonuses. In some cases, you may be able to trade in points for cash or casino credits. So keep an eye out for the upcoming legal online casinos in West Virginia and choose sites that have special loyalty bonuses for players.
Player Reviews: What Do Others Have to Say?
Since the online casino industry has only just become legalized in West Virginia, you’ll want to pay extra careful attention to which sites you join. Reading online casino reviews and comments from other players provides a great way to learn about a casino before signing up. You can also get player feedback to find out which legal online casinos have recently opened in the state of West Virginia.
West Virginia Casino Online Customer Support
If you have a question or need help with something, you’ll want to choose a casino that makes it easy to get in touch with a customer service operator. Look for online casinos West Virginia that offer support via a variety of channels like live chat, toll-free phone numbers, or email. An online FAQ or searchable resources can also aid in self-service so you don’t need to waste time getting in touch with a staff member in the first place.
The Bottom Line on West Virginia Online Gambling
As a relative newcomer to the online gaming industry, West Virginia online betting has only just begun to flourish. As of March 2019, visitors and residents of the Mountain State can enjoy a range of online betting activities including sportsbook, poker, and casino games. As an emerging market, the future of online betting looks bright for West Virginia, and the industry will likely see more and more online betting options available statewide. Gambling sites will begin to launch offering lucrative bonuses and contests for players. If you live in West Virginia or plan to visit, make sure to check back with us to find out the latest offers and hottest new West Virginia online casinos.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
In town for a visit? That’s just fine. Online gambling laws allow both residents and tourists alike to enjoy online betting as long as they are within state borders. West Virginia laws allow online betting of all sorts statewide like esports, poker, and sports betting.
A domino effect seems to be happening across the United States as more and more states pass legislation allowing online gambling. West Virginia represents the fifth state to jump on the bandwagon, and now online casino companies have their sights set on the Mountain State to get a piece of the (billion dollar) pie.
The bill allowing online gambling only passed in March of 2019. That means the industry remains relatively undeveloped with emerging markets bound to erupt. Already major gambling companies look toward the Mountain State for opportunities in developing online gaming.
Punters will definitely get their fair share of online sports book. Several sports betting apps have already gone live with more on the way.
However, things have gotten off to a rocky start in West Virginia’s online gaming industry. Delaware North, the operator of the Mardi Gras Casino and Sportsbook and Wheeling Island Casino and Sportsbook, stumbled across issues and had to shut down just before March Madness, one of the country’s biggest sports betting opportunities of the year. It still remains to be seen what the state will have to offer in terms of online betting in the coming years.
If you head into West Virginia for a bit of the fresh mountain air of the Appalachians and manage to get some internet access, you can place bets at online casinos. However, it’s important to note that the state only recently passed laws allowing online betting. New online gambling operators will surely pop up over the next year as the industry matures. If you’re in town, double check to ensure that you place bets at a legal online casino in West Virginia before you sign up.
West Virginia only recently passed bills permitting statewide online betting. Although out-of-state companies like Delaware North have launched their online betting operations in West Virginia, the industry remains very new. West Virginia has always had strict laws surrounding gambling operators within the state and requires establishments to obtain proper licenses in order to accept bets. As mentioned previously, those who operate underground betting, online or otherwise, without receiving state-approved licenses could face fines or jail time.
Therefore, online gamblers should take caution when choosing where to bet online. New legal online casinos have come forth to launch their sites and announce upcoming gambling sites and apps that will soon become available within the state.