West Virginia Gambling Laws

West Virginia Gambling LawsWest Virginia (VA) has varied and interesting collection of laws governing gambling in the Mountain State that makes for various gambling opportunities both land-based, and online.

Gambling in west VA has a long history and the state is one of the most libertarian and open-minded states of The Appalachian region of the United States. Gambling in West Virginia currently permits and/or regulates on betting and gambling in the following ways

Gambling Type Legal Land-Based Legal Online
Sports Betting Yes Yes (Through Land-Based Casino Sites Only)
Casinos Yes No
Fantasy-Sports (DFS) N/A Yes
eSports No No
Poker Yes No
Horse-Racing Yes Yes
Lottery Yes No
Charitable Gambling Yes No

Gambling Age in West Virginia

Gambling Type Age
Casinos 21
Sports Betting 21
DFS 18
Horse Racing 18
Lottery 18
Charitable Gambling 18
  • Casino Games – There are a total of five casinos in West Virginia after initial casino legalization in 1994. Four of West Virginia five casinos are “racinos” at live horse and dog racing facilities. West Virginia has two operating dog racetracks and two operating horse racetracks. The table games at these casinos are all state owned. There are no Tribal casinos in west VA.
  • Sports Betting – Sports betting in West Virginia was officially launched in the state on September 1 2018 with one of the state’s casinos opening its sports betting doors for business. Two other casinos in the state have delayed their sports betting launch until later in the fall of 2018 whilst ironing some final administrative details.
  • Online Gambling – Betting Online is generally unavailable in West Virginia, although there are some exceptions. Gambling online extends to horse race betting, sports betting online through the land-based casino sites that already offer sportsbooks and DFS. However, West Virginia has no specific law outlawing betting online in online casinos and like many other states that is enough to consider them illegal for the time being.
  • Live Poker – West Virginia offers plenty of choice for Live Poker tournaments at racetracks (Racinos) and Poker. Note – Social poker ‘home’ games are not legal in the Mountain State, although they are not on the radar of authorities for crackdown either.
  • Online Poker – Not yet legal, although the state’s relatively small size and geographical location has made it the ‘perfect partner’ for sharing online Poker ‘jackpot liquidity’ (according to leading industry experts).
  • Lottery Betting – A popular State Lottery exists in West Virginia, which also operates ‘pseudo slots’ (lottery terminals) at many licensed bars and other licensed establishments across the state.
  • Charitable Gambling – West Virginia State Law allows for charitable gaming which includes raffles, keno, bingo and other charitable games.

West Virginia Gambling Tax

A flat gambling tax of 6.5% on all winnings is effective in West Virginia for most regular sized gambling winnings.

Larger wins may also incur a much heftier Federal Tax and exact tax rates applicable for larger wins will depend upon your state of residence in the United States.

Sports Betting in West Virginia

Betting on sports was officially launched at one of the state’s five casinos on September 1 2018. During the fall of late 2018 and perhaps the beginning of 2019, all of the Mountain State’s casinos are expected to follow with their own 100% legal in-house sports books.

Once fully applied across all the state’s land-based over the next few months, West Virginia will be among the first handful of states to offer its residents a fully regulated sports betting program.

Land Based Sports Books

Once fully applied across all the state’s land-based over the next few months, West Virginia will be among the first handful of states to offer its residents a fully regulated sports betting program.

Online Sports Books

West Virginia’s brand-new sports betting law gives the land-based casino’s the right to offer legal sports betting both on-site in their brick-and mortar establishments, and across their individual mobile and online platforms. Each of the casino operators are legally licensed to offer their online sports betting patrons up to three individually branded platforms (otherwise known as ‘skins’) per player.

Casino in West Virginia

The Mountain State of West Virginia offers its residents and visitors a mature land-based casino industry and gambling culture. In West Virginia, 4 major racetrack casinos (racinos) operate and 1 stand-alone commercial land-based casino. In total, these casinos operate more than 10 000 slot machines and over 225 table games for the state’s residents.

West Virginia Online Casinos

Whilst all West Virginian land-based casinos feature video lottery terminals (VLT’s), West Virginia has not yet introduced legal online casinos. The VLT’s are the same as regular video gaming devices but are called ‘lottery terminals’ because they are regulated by the state’s lottery commission which receives a share of each machine’s revenue.

The VLT’s can be seen to be something of a ‘stop-gap’ measure until the legalization of sports betting in West Virginia paves the way for online casinos to eventually follow the legalization pathway.

Horse Racing Betting in West Virginia

For all Mountain State residents over the legal age for Horse Racing Betting of 18, course/track side, off track betting and online betting options are all permissible.

Track Side / Off Track Betting (OTB) in West Virginia

Track Side – West Virginia is home to two live horse racing venues and an additional two greyhound race tracks that all accept bets on simulcast horse races and live racing.

Off Track Betting (OTB) – The live racing venues in West Virginia effectively function as the states’ official OTB agencies. There are no additional stand-alone OTB agencies in the state of West Virginia.

Online Horse Racing Betting in West Virginia

If you’re a West Virginian above the age of 18, and you can’t find the time to get to the track or a simulcast facility to bet on big events like the Kentucky Derby, you can still place wagers on the race with an online account. Online racebooks have small initial deposit requirements and provide the convenience of betting anytime, anywhere on a PC or mobile device. and offer betting on races throughout the U.S.A and across the world.

Fantasy Sports Laws in West Virginia

The West Virginia Senate has proposed and approved (in a landslide) a bill that would regulate Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS), however, the bill is still awaiting House approval in the next legislative session. For now, the issue remains undecided, and wagers at DFS sites are technically legal, until the legislature acts otherwise.

Meanwhile, there is no legal impediment to DFS players taking part in DFS leagues in West Virginia. All major DFS operators accept players from West Virginia without any issues.

How DFS works

DFS betting quite a different form of sports betting to what most people perceive sports betting to be. It is not at all about betting on your favorite teams to win and lose as you might expect.

In a DFS betting format, you act as a team manager or owner, keeping to a ‘virtual’ salary cap which you use to ‘spend’ on players to ‘buy’ for your DFS team. It is essential to stay under the assigned ‘budget’ for your dream team. Overbudget teams cannot be registered.

To see how DFS works, let’s use the example of an MLB DFS league for example;

The idea is to assemble a team that amasses the most home runs, RBI’s, strikeouts, stolen bases, hits, doubles, triples, lowest pitching staff ERA’s etc., and other key statistics each week or over the season.

In an MLB DFS league, participants can choose a new fantasy NBA team each week: they invest a fixed amount of (imaginary) money, spending from that budget on pitchers, first basemen, designated hitters, relievers, short stops, catchers etc. Each player has their own price tag determined by the fantasy sports businesses, and those price tags are usually set by player performance throughout their careers and the current season

For example, a superstar home run hitter like Giancarlo Stanton or Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees will potentially cost a lot more than a struggling teammate Brett Gardner.

‘Paying’ for either Judge or Stanton will potentially leave a DFS contestant with far less cash in their virtual budget to spend on other quality players for their fantasy team.

Great DFS players are generally excellent ‘budget balancers’ and able to squeeze the best out of every penny that they ‘spend’.

All of the major U.S. sporting leagues generally have DFS leagues running in conjunction with their seasons, both in regular seasons and play-offs.

The great news for DFS players is that the major companies may possibly be pay out $1 million or potentially more each week to the winners of each week’s league for every sport in their roster.

in West Virginia

Poker in West Virginia runs out of the state’s highly 5 Poker Rooms (97 tables available), and the state’s 5 legal casinos. Licensed Poker is fully legal, popular and widely promoted in West Virginia. On the other hand, unlicensed Poker and other forms of unlicensed games are frowned upon by lawmakers.

Poker Rooms

West Virginia has a total of 5 poker rooms offering 97 tables. West Virginia encourages you to play all your favorite poker games without any legal ramifications (including Pot-Limit Omaha, No Limit Hold’em, Caribbean Stud Poker, Casino Hold’em, Texas Hold’em etc.).

On the other hand, unlicensed games such as unlicensed poker, unlicensed roulette or unlicensed roulette are strictly against the law and frowned upon. Social ‘home’ games are not legal, although it has been many years since anyone was charged under these laws in the state of West Virginia.

Online Poker Laws

Given that there is no official word on legal online poker games, we suggest that it is safe to presume that online poker is still illegal in West Virginia at the moment.

The one interesting development is that industry experts have stated that West Virginia would be the perfect state to partner nearby Delaware in sharing online poker game jackpot liquidity. This suggests that change is on the horizon for the legalization of online poker in West Virginia.

eSports Betting in West Virginia

On May 14 2018, the United States Supreme Court eliminated the 26-year-old law prohibiting states from sponsoring sports gambling. Today, states (including recently enacted West Virginia) are free to establish their own sports-betting laws, and eSports betting may very well lead the legalization way as it has done in some other U.S. states as it has been a sport untouched by the past legal troubles.

As a very new sport blossoming with the spread of global technology and blindingly fast internet speeds, eSports has efficiently morphed video game play into a full-time professional sport, where professional players sign multi-million-dollar contracts with huge corporately sponsored teams. Rather than an individual sport, eSports are mostly competed in team tournament play. That being said, champion individual eSports athletes develop cult global followings and their contrasting styles of play are loved and copied by amateur players the world over.

If you’re searching for an established sports comparison in order to better understand eSports, the E-games themselves are roughly equivalent to different sports types. For example, in eSports, the games Fortnite and Dota 2 are equivalent to, say, NFL and MLB. eSports is the overall concept (like Sports), while the different electronic games are equivalent to the different types of sports such as MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL etc.

eSports wagering has become big business. Global sportsbooks offer betting markets on major eSports tournaments. The worldwide betting revenue on eSports grows massively each year, with professional players taking part and this year the revenue of the industry is expected to top the $100 billion mark.

You never know, as much as we love the NFL, your first visit to a recently made legal West Virginian sportsbook could possibly be to place a bet on eSports.

History of Gambling in West Virginia

New legislation on sport betting legalization appears to be just around the corner for West Virginia. However, in the meantime, see our timeline for the landmark dates in the history of gambling in West Virginia;

1931 – West Virginia Racing Commission was created to oversee legal betting on Horse Racing in the Mountain State.

1986 – West Virginia State Lottery begins, and the state also allows multi-state jackpot lotteries like Powerball.

1994 – West Virginia’s Racetrack Video Lottery Act was passed allowing Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) at racetracks.

1994 – A State Act allowed for land-based and riverboat casinos in West Virginia.

2001 – VLT legislation expended in West Virginia to include introduction of the terminals into the state’s bars and licensed clubs.

2007 – Table Games were finally legalized at the state’s four racetrack casinos (racinos) via a state referendum.

2008 – West Virginia’s first land-based casino was approved and it was opened in 2010.

April 23 2018 – WV SB415 Passes and Sports Betting Becomes legal

September 1 2018 – Introduction of fully legalized sports betting in West Virginia. The first legal sportsbook opens in the State.

 



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