West Virginia is quickly becoming a significant fixture in the American sports betting world. The Mountain State may seem to be an odd member of the group, but the state has been at the forefront the entire time.
This page will run down every bit of sports betting activity in West Virginia. Anyone considering a trip to the Mountain State will know the ins and outs of placing a bet on a sporting event there.
WV sports betting at a glance
First and foremost, sports betting is legal and live in West Virginia. The first sportsbook opened at Hollywood Casino Charles Town in August 2018. Two of the four remaining casinos in the state also offer sports betting to customers.
Additionally, there are now three online sports betting apps active in West Virginia. Both DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM sportsbooks are now accepting wagering via browsers and mobile apps.
The process for accessing these apps is much the same as any other gambling app.
Apple customers can proceed to their App Store and download iOS apps there. Meanwhile, Android users will have to download the app from the sportsbook sites themselves, but mostly, the app will function like any other.
From there, it should be reasonably self-explanatory to navigate the apps and place wagers. West Virginia allows wagering on a wide variety of activities, including some more exotic sports.
Unlike New Jersey, the Mountain State does allow betting on collegiate activities in the state and instate university contests.
All the sportsbooks offer bonuses to sweeten the appeal for new players.
- DraftKings will spot new accounts $25 free, along with providing a deposit bonus and a $200 risk-free bet.
- FanDuel will give new players a $500 risk-free wager.
- BetMGM offers a $500 risk-free bet as well.
Here’s what’s going on with sports betting in West Virginia.
Online sports betting is back in West Virginia
For months, West Virginians had to watch as Pennsylvania moved past the Mountain State and became an online sports betting state. Things seemed quite desperate for residents who were wanting to wager on sports via their devices.
Finally, as August came to a close, the months-long headache ended. Two sportsbooks opened their virtual doors for business in West Virginia. They are:
- DraftKings Sportsbook WV
- FanDuel Sportsbook WV
- BetMGM Sportsbook WV
What is the best sports betting app in West Virginia?
FanDuel Sportsbook WV
FanDuel Sportsbook was the first online book to launch after the BetLucky closure. It opened its virtual doors on Aug. 26.
However, the debut was not the first time that FanDuel sports betting had occurred in West Virginia. FanDuel has been operating the retail sportsbook at The Casino Club at The Greenbrier since September 2018.
Unsurprisingly, The Greenbrier is acting as FanDuel’s land-based partner for sports betting. The app itself is a version of the company’s successful product in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Like many sportsbooks, FanDuel features a large live betting section for its clients. This feature gives bettors the option of wagering on dozens of various events during a single match or game.
Somewhat less common is the fact that FanDuel offers a loyalty program for its bettors to use. The FanDuel Points system allows players to build up program points that are redeemable for free bets and other perks.
Additionally, the system is tiered. So, players can receive greater levels of service as they ascend through the program.
Read more about FanDuel Sportsbook WV here
DraftKings Sportsbook WV
DraftKings Sportsbook launched its West Virginia-facing site on Aug. 28. Players can access it via a browser, iOS and Android devices.
DraftKings’ road to online life in West Virginia was not an easy one. The company secured a license to operate in the Mountain State in September 2018, but it could not find a land-based partner until three months later. DraftKings is now operating via Hollywood Casino Charles Town’s license.
Due to increased regulatory requirements from the West Virginia Lottery (after the BetLucky debacle), the app is a complete rewrite from the company’s New Jersey app. So, in terms of downloading, users need to take care to get the correct app on their phones.
DraftKings is one of the first sites to offer a live ticket system or cash-out option onsite. Essentially, this feature allows players to cash out their open bet slips prior to the conclusion of the game or match.
DraftKings also features an extensive live betting section on the app.
Read more about DraftKings Sportsbook WV here.
BetMGM Sportsbook WV
MGM Resorts is making a foray into the West Virginia sports betting market, bringing its new and improved app — BetMGM Sportsbook — to the state. Its app launched in January of 2020.
MGM has long been a heavyweight in the US casino industry for a long time, and it’s hoping to expand that to sports betting across the country. While its Nevada sportsbooks have been around for decades, the operations in other states are relatively new.
The company has spent heavily to upgrade its sports betting technology thanks to a joint venture with GVC.
MGM does not have a casino in the state, but it is allowed to run an 0nline-only sportsbook. (There is no retail MGM sportsbook in the state.)
BetMGM has all the major sports on offer, including a robust selection of live betting options. On BetMGM you can also use the “Edit My Bet” functionality, which is a variation on being able to cash out of bets before the underlying events are resolved.
Read more about BetMGM Sportsbook here.
WV sports betting apps
Sports betting has gone online in West Virginia with the introduction of mobile sportsbook apps. These programs allow players to access a full range of betting options through their mobile devices.
However, neither of the two major operation platforms are particularly thrilled about hosting online gambling apps.
So, both Google and Apple have placed obstacles between online sports bettors and their apps of choice.
Android betting apps
Phones from Samsung, Google and Sony all use Android software as their platform. More people use Android phones than Apple ones, and the margin is not particularly close.
However, Google has not allowed gambling apps in the Google Play store. This restriction has been in place for several years, and there’s no end in sight.
So, Android users are forced to seek out the app on their own and download it separately. Although a quick search may be necessary to reveal the file location, Android users only need to download the file, allow it to install and let the betting begin.
iPhone / iPad betting apps
Apple’s iOS was, until summer 2019, a secure system for baseball fans to appreciate. So, it came as a shock when Apple came down from on high and demanded that all sportsbook and casino apps be written in a language native to iOS.
Given that most casinos are coded using HTML5, the required conversion was quite an ask. Fortunately, the two soon-to-be online sportsbooks had already worked things out with Apple, and all was well.
So, the bottom line is that a bettor using iOS, and Android, or the browser version should have no difficulty playing their game of choice.
Physical location, boundaries
All online sports betting activities must occur inside the state lines of West Virginia. Both sportsbooks verify and monitor each player’s physical location while he or she is on the app.
Pros of mobile sportsbook apps
- Flexibility: Bettors can wager on sports from anywhere in the state, including at home.
- Choice: It is much easier to shop for lines when multiple sportsbooks are available at once.
- Speed: The time to place a bet, based on travel time and physical processing time, is much slower at land-based sportsbook options.
- Expanded Betting Options: Thanks to the technological advantage that mobile apps possess, bettors have a wide range of betting options that extend beyond the traditional betting types. Most notably, mobile apps can offer an expansive list of live bets and offer action dozens of times in a single game.
Cons of mobile sportsbook apps
- Complexity: The flip side of having so many options for betting is that sports betting becomes far more complicated and difficult to understand. Some bettors may find the whole thing confusing.
- Trust: Placing one’s money with an out-of-sight vendor is an act of faith. Although the sites are highly regulated, there is still a level of stress about potential bad actors that do not exist in cash-based live sportsbooks.
- Social: There is something to be said for the social aspect of placing a bet, then watching the game unfold in the company of fellow bettors. Humans are social creatures, and mobile bettors miss out on the opportunity to rejoice or commiserate with other like-minded people.
How does online sports betting work in West Virginia
There is much discussion in public these days about sports betting. But, it may not be immediately apparent what sports betting is, exactly.
Clearly, sports betting is making a wager on sports. However, it goes well beyond a guess and a handshake about which team will win a particular contest.
There are a few types of sports bets that are ubiquitous throughout the entirety of the industry. In other words, it would be difficult to find a sportsbook that did not offer these bets.
The first type of betting in this category is likely the most common wager in all of sports betting. A bet on the point spread is a wager against an established margin of victory.
The sportsbook will establish what it believes to be the likely result of two teams’ competition. Though the exact points will be unknown, the sportsbook predicts how many more points the winning team will score. This estimate is known as the point spread, the spread or the line.
Then, bettors issue wagers based upon that estimate. They can bet that either one of two things will happen:
- The expected winner, or favorite, will win by more points than the sportsbook’s prediction. A team that successfully does so is said to have “beaten” the spread.
- The expected loser, or underdog, will lose by fewer points than the estimate. A team that successfully loses by less than the spread has “covered” the spread. Obviously, a bet on an underdog that manages to win its game outright is also a winning bet.
Moneylines are another type of wager that show up in almost every sports betting location. However, despite their ubiquity, the three-digit numbers can be something of a mystery.
Essentially, a moneyline wager dispenses with the idea of an expected margin of victory, as point spreads do. Instead, the bet is simply on which team that the player believes will win outright, irrespective of margin.
What the numbers determine, therefore, is what a correct guess will pay out. The key is to observe whether the number next to the selected team is positive or negative.
If the number is positive, then the team is the underdog. Therefore, the number listed is the amount that the sportsbook will pay to a winning $100 bet.
Conversely, if the number is negative, then the team is the favorite. Therefore, the number listed is the amount of the bet the book needs to for a $100 payout.
Moneylines can also be converted into straight odds since a +100 moneyline is equivalent to 1:1. So, positive moneylines are odds the bettor receives, while negative moneylines are the odds the bettor lays.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to guess which team will prevail in a given contest. So, it may be easier to estimate what kind of offense the two teams will combine to produce.
Enter the totals bet. A totals wager is a bet on how many points will be scored by both teams in a given contest.
In order for this wager to proceed, the sportsbook will establish an estimate for the combined point total. This estimate is also called the over/under, which is often shorthand for this betting type.
Bettors call it the over/under because that’s precisely what they are betting. Namely, players bet on whether the actual combined score will be over or under the given estimate.
One thing that bettors should note is that the sportsbook’s line will almost always have a half-point added to it. It is quite rare that a sportsbook would accept the possibility of a tie.
Another extremely common betting type is the futures bet. This wager, as its name implies, involves betting on events that have yet to pass.
Of course, that description could fit every wager. So, more specifically, a futures bet typically involves some end-of-season proposition, like a championship or a season award.
So, for instance, wagers on a particular team to win the Super Bowl or the World Series are futures bets. They are usually expressed as straight odds bets, although they can show up as moneylines from time to time.
Because of their unpredictability, the payouts on futures bets can be quite high. Odds ranging into the thousands are fairly common on longshots, so small futures bets can hold quite a bit of appeal for some players.
The last common betting type is the proposition bet. The “prop” bet is a type of wager that sometimes acts as a bit of a catch-all for the remaining wagers in play.
A proposition bet involves a wager on an event not immediately determined by the outcome of the game or match. Instead, proposition bets will either pertain to partial game achievements or events that are tangential to the game itself.
So, any bet on the performance of an individual player during the game would be a proposition bet. Any wager on the score at the end of a period of play would qualify as a prop.
They could also be bets on the outcome of an opening coin-toss. A prop bet could come into play about the amount of a particular statistic that a team (or both teams) incurs during the game.
Proposition bets are usually the most fanciful wagers that people make. Most stories about side bets or ridiculous stipulations in a wager are prop bets.
Parlays are combination wagers that involve one or more of the most common betting types. In a parlay, the bettor selects several different bets to reside on the same wager.
Each of these bets is known as a leg. Players can make parlay bets with as many legs as they want, generally speaking.
The catch is that every leg must prove correct for the parlay bettor to get paid. So, the likelihood of a successful parlay is much lower than on a series of individual wagers.
However, parlays also bear a higher pay structure to compensate for their increased risk. The more legs in the parlay, the higher the payout that a player may win.
Along with straight parlays, a sportsbook may offer a couple of variations on parlays known as teasers and pleasers. These options may make a parlay more attractive for the bettor, though for entirely different reasons.
In a teaser, the sportsbook will allow the player to adjust the odds in his or her favor on a parlay wager. So, the overall chance of winning the parlay goes up, since the teaser usually moves the spread or moneyline for each leg.
However, players pay the price for this adjustment. The payout potential for the increased odds drops on teasers.
Conversely, in a pleaser, the sportsbook will adjust the odds in its favor. In effect, the parlay becomes much more difficult for the player to realize.
At first glance, this option may seem like one no bettor would ever take. Much like teasers, however, the sportsbook adjusts the payout associated with the parlay.
This time, though, the payout potential increases. So, a bettor willing to accept more risk may find themselves with a more significant payday.
Round robins are, essentially, the exponential version of parlays. If a parlay is a combination of straight bets, a round robin is a combination of parlays.
So, a round robin might involve three or four separate parlays combined into the same bet. Needless to say, the exact conditions for success can be challenging to track.
However, round robins do have one advantage over their constituent parlays. Namely, a round robin bet is not automatically a loser if one of the parlays loses.
Round robins are much like box bets found at horseracing tracks. In these types of wagers, the different combinations of teams or horses can move interchangeably with one another.
So, even if one parlay happened to fail in a round robin, the bettor might still get paid if the others hold up. In a sense, in a round robin bet, it doesn’t matter who comes in first.
Live betting in West Virginia
Live, aka in-game betting, is becoming such a big deal that it deserves its section. In fact, if trends from other locales hold true in West Virginia, live betting will be the majority of wagers taken in the Mountain State before long.
Live betting, or in-game wagering, is a feature that allows sportsbooks to offer bets on games already in progress. These bets are typically available in response to development during the game, such as whether a player or team will reach a particular milestone.
They are, almost by definition, proposition bets. Live betting occurs using partial game results and many shifting criteria.
Thankfully, because of the technological advantages that online sportsbooks bring to the table, there is a wide range of possibilities available for these kinds of wagers. So, a single game or contest could potentially offer dozens of bets for players to consider.
As it turns out, this fact is good for both the bettor and the sportsbook. The sportsbook wants to book as much action as it can. However, the bettor now has more opportunities either to take advantage of developments in the game or to recoup losses from a pregame wager gone awry.
So, it’s not a shock that live betting has become so popular. West Virginians are sure to discover its charms in short order.
Banking and how sportsbooks payout
Sportsbooks rely on players to be able to move their money onto and off their sites without much difficulty. Obviously, money is the lifeblood of any sports betting operation.
So, West Virginia sites make it as easy as possible for players to make transactions to and from their accounts. Here are some of the methods of deposit and withdrawal that a West Virginia bettor may find:
- Credit or debit cards (Visa and Mastercard)
- E-check or ACH transfers
- Bank transfers
- Electronic wallets (PayPal, Neteller, Skrill)
- Prepaid cards (Play+ and DraftKings)
- PayNearMe (Cash option redeemable via 7-Eleven)
- Bank wire/money order
- Cash (Transactions at online sportsbook’s land-based partner’s cage)
- Check (Primarily used for withdrawals. Some sportsbooks may accept personal checks as deposits.)
How to sign up to a WV sportsbook
To get going on one of West Virginia’s online sportsbooks, players will need to undergo the registration process. This gathering of information will ask for typical information, such as:
- Phone number
- Email address
- Social Security number
The registration process will likely also request that the player verify that he or she is not a robot or some auto-registration program. The player will also have to confirm that he or she has read various legal policies to proceed.
Please note that it would be quite unusual to be required to submit bank information at this point in the process. Legitimate sites in the Mountain State won’t do this, so stick to the name brands to avoid this kind of concerning situation.
Legal sports betting in West Virginia
It may be a surprise, but unassuming West Virginia has been on the vanguard of sports betting legalization since the beginning. If New Jersey was the general of that particular army, it’s not a reach to say that West Virginia was the second-in-command.
Even as early as 2016, West Virginia was clear in its position on the issue of federal sports betting. State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed multiple amicus curiae briefs in support of New Jersey’s suit against the government.
Perhaps sensing the direction the wind was blowing, West Virginia legislators passed a comprehensive sports betting bill in February 2018, three months in advance of the upcoming Supreme Court decision. After Gov. Jim Justice allowed the bill to become law without his signature, the Mountain State needed only a win in Washington, DC, to move forward.
Once the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the states in May 2018, West Virginia sprang into action with multiple license approvals for its five instate casinos. Hollywood Casino Charles Town received the first legal sports bet on Aug. 30.
Since then, all five casinos have accepted sports bets at some point. Two casinos, Mardi Gras Casino and Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack, have suspended their operations due to an ongoing problem with their technology partner.
Both casinos are owned by Delaware North, which also owned the first legal online sportsbook, BetLucky. BetLucky began taking bets through a mobile app in December 2018, but everything came to a crashing halt in March 2018.
In that month, Delaware North reported a significant dispute with Miomni, the company which powered its sports betting operations. The company shut down all of its sportsbooks, including BetLucky, and has never reopened them. It also severed ties with Miomni.
West Virginia regulators were not amused with the whole affair with Delaware North, so they insisted on increased oversight before any new online sportsbooks could launch. Thankfully, DraftKings and FanDuel finally satisfied their concerns and opened for business in August 2018.
So, legal sports betting in West Virginia is available at the following locations:
- DraftKings Sportsbook WV
- FanDuel Sportsbook WV
- Hollywood Casino Charles Town
- FanDuel Sportsbook at The Casino Club at The Greenbrier
- The Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort
Most popular sports to bet in WV
Without a doubt, football is the most popular sport to gamble in the US and, undoubtedly, West Virginia follows suit in that regard. However, residents of the Mountain State have a bit of a quandary as to where they should cast their allegiances.
West Virginia is not home to any major sports franchises. So, bettors in the state have to look elsewhere for a place to root.
For many of them, their hearts move with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Pennsylvania city is one of the nearest major cities to the Mountain State, and the team in black and yellow is one of the NFL’s most storied franchises.
According to Google, the fandom for the Steelers is king in West Virginia. Even other nearby teams, like the Baltimore Ravens, Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles, cannot hold a candle to West Virginia’s love for Pittsburgh.
Interestingly, things are not so clear for other professional sports. West Virginians appear evenly split on their basketball loyalties between the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Washington Wizards and the Philadelphia 76ers.
The interests in baseball are more of a duality. If one lives in West Virginia, they either root for the Pittsburgh Pirates or the Cincinnati Reds. There’s not that much interest in the Washington Nationals or Baltimore Orioles.
However, there’s only one collegiate program that matters in the Mountain State. There’s the Mountaineers of West Virginia University, and everyone else is secondary.
Horse racing in West Virginia
Betting on horse races is common throughout West Virginia. Four of the five instate casinos host live racing events at their in-house racetracks.
At its core, betting on horse racing is a simple activity. Bettors choose which horse or horses they believe will finish in the top three. Those three places are called win, place and show, respectively. Players can bet these three spots in any combination that they wish.
The casual bettor relies upon the track’s stated odds to guide his or her wagering. However, serious horse racing bettors consider a wide variety of factors, including each horse’s historical performances and the conditions at the track.
For most, that kind of study is too much work. Considering that wagers on horse races can be as low as $2, most people play only to have fun, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
West Virginia horse racing locations
- Hollywood Casino Charles Town, Charles Town
- Mardi Gras Casin, Cross Lanes
- Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack, Wheeling
- The Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort, New Cumberland
Retail sportsbooks in WV
There are five instate casinos in West Virginia. All five casinos are licensed to provide retail sports betting on their premises.
However, two casinos are not offering sports betting at this time. Both casinos, Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island, remain in a state of limbo due to ongoing technical difficulties.
The casinos’ owner, Delaware North, has not established a timeframe for the return of sports betting to either property. So, for the immediate future, there are three active retail sportsbooks in West Virginia. They are:
The Sportsbook at Hollywood Casino Charles Town
Address: 750 Hollywood Drive, Charles Town, WV 25414
Hollywood Casino Charles Town is the largest casino location in West Virginia. It is also the nearest West Virginia property to Washington, DC, and Baltimore.
Hollywood’s sportsbook was the first to accept a wager in the state’s history. Sports betting commenced there in late August 2018.
Since then, the sportsbook has been the most successful operation in the state. In fact, Hollywood Casino’s sportsbook accounts for just under 75% of all sports betting revenue in the state.
It is also the land-based home of one of West Virginia’s two online sportsbook apps. DraftKings Sportsbook WV calls the Charles Town property home.
FanDuel Sportsbook at The Casino Club at The Greenbrier Resort
Address: 101 W Main Street, White Sulphur Springs, WV 24986
FanDuel Sportsbook at The Casino Club at The Greenbrier Resort is one of the more unique sportsbook properties in the United States. It may be, in fact, the only private legal sportsbook in the country.
This idiosyncrasy extends to the casino itself, actually. The casino is only available to club members, property owners, and hotel guests at the Greenbrier Resort itself.
As such, the sportsbook (and casino at large) exist more as a luxury service than a moneymaking endeavor. Players can wager on sports as usual, but the casino has a dress code and sense of decorum that players don’t find at other sportsbooks.
FanDuel Sportsbook also operates the mobile app that bears its name in West Virginia. FanDuel Sportsbook WV is one of two legal sports betting apps in the Mountain State.
William Hill Sportsbook at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort
Address: 1420 Mountaineer Circle, New Cumberland, WV 26047
The sportsbook at Mountaineer Casino is an unassuming operation, much like its namesake. Though a resort, the property’s geographic location makes it feel like an afterthought most of the time.
The Mountaineer is located on the tip of West Virginia’s Northern Peninsula. It sits on the bank of the Ohio River, mere feet from the state line.
As a result, no other West Virginia casino is in more dire need of an online gambling presence. Thankfully, the Mountaineer looks to join the online sports betting community quite soon. It will be the land-based home of sports betting giant William Hill sometime in the next few months.