After a long wait in West Virginia, bettors were rewarded for their patience on Monday when FanDuel Sportsbook went live. The launch comes just in time for football season as the West Virginia Mountaineers and Marshall Thundering Herd debut this weekend.
FanDuel already runs a retail sportsbook at the Casino Club at the Greenbrier, and now becomes the only mobile operator in the state. That could change in the coming days as DraftKings Sportsbook is also expected to launch soon.
Proprietary platform with seamless DFS integration
In West Virginia, FanDuel created a unique app available for download via iOS and Android. The app is a standalone entity, unlike in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, to meet gaming regulations unique to the state.
“While the West Virginia Sportsbook shares some similarities to the FanDuel Sportsbook app in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including the use of the IGT PlaySports platform, there are some differences making the app unique for the residents of West Virginia,” the company noted in a news release.
As part of that effort, the WV players will have their own account and wallet technology, the backbone of the new operating system on FanDuel Sportsbook WV.
The platform also allows WV bettors to transition to the FanDuel daily fantasy sports app seamlessly. Bettors can use fantasy sports and sportsbook winnings interchangeably. App users can even sign in to the new sportsbook app using their DFS account information.
WV back in the mobile betting business
As a rural state, mobile wagering offers a chance for bettors across West Virginia to get in on the action. FanDuel now offers wagering opportunities for bettors not located near the state’s five casinos or near the Pennsylvania border.
Those not privy to the situation might not understand the struggles bettors in the state have experienced. WV legalized betting in March 2018, anticipating the US Supreme Court overturning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA).
After PASPA was overturned in May; however, there was a slow rollout. The Hollywood Casino first opened its betting windows on Sept. 1. The Greenbrier followed shortly afterward, but other properties were delayed even longer.
In December, the operator of the Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island casinos launched BetLucky retail books at both properties. That also included a BetLucky mobile app.
But in March, the two sportsbooks and BetLucky stopped taking wagers. Delaware North’s partner in the venture found itself in a dispute with a third-party software company.
The partnership then dissolved, BetLucky is gone, and the Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island sportsbooks remain closed. Both companies are now in court, which leaves WV bettors limited to the three remaining books or a trip to Pennsylvania.
Betting and bonuses
There was some confusion on Monday with the FanDuel WV launch. Many bettors weren’t aware that the app was separate from the platform available in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Some had trouble finding it in the Apple App Store, while others were confused and not realizing they’d need a new account.
A few bettors also reported that there were geolocation errors that led to many not being able to wager. Using the app on WiFi seemed to do the trick.
There may be some kinks to work out, but bettors in WV are certainly pleased to wager on football this weekend.
“It’s been a long time coming with lots of frustrations,” says 56-year-old recreational bettor and WVU professor Mark Paternostro. “But I’m very happy they were able to bring it together before football season. I understand the complexity of the whole process, but so happy to be up and running.”
The Mountaineers were a 7-point favorite on FanDuel for Saturday’s game at home against James Madison. However, that matchup had been taken down by Monday. Marshall is a 39-point favorite over VMI.
New users who do get signed up will receive a risk free bet for $500 at FanDuel Sportsbook WV.