Thanks to a breaking news article by WV Metro News, we now know that DraftKings Sportsbook mobile app will be soon launching in West Virginia. As Jeff Jenkins stated in his article, DraftKings Sportsbook mobile has been cleared to operate by the West Virginia Lottery. Now residents of West Virginia join Pennsylvania in waiting for the launch of mobile sports betting in their respective states.
West Virginia was the fifth state to offer legalized sports betting, doing so back in August 2018. The Mountaineer State was the third to operate legal online sports betting, starting in December 2018. That mobile dream was short-lived for West Virginia residents. A dispute between the BetLucky WV app and its supplier caused a shutdown of online sports betting in the Mountaineer State in March 2019.
How Sports Betting Came To West Virginia
West Virginia was one of the states that backed New Jersey on its fight to remove the federal ban on sports betting.
The state got its first sports betting bill in March of 2017. The bill looked to add language to the state constitution to legalize and regulate sports betting at West Virginia casinos. The tax percentage was at a minuscule two percent. The bill was introduced by Delegate Shawn Fluharty.
Fluharty reintroduced his bill again in 2018. The Senate responded with a bill of their own that matched Fluharty’s. However, a third bill is what ended up making the cut.
S 145 was introduced on behalf of the state lottery commission. That bill called for a $100,000 licensing and renewal fee and a tax rate of 10 percent. The Senate ended up passing the bill in February of 2018 and the House responded by doing the same shortly after. Governor Jim Justice then allowed for the bill to become law in March, without his signature. After the PASPA ruling in May, West Virginia sports betting was clear to start operations. The Hollywood Casino took the state’s first legal bet on August 30.
DraftKings Looking To Bring Mobile Back To West Virginia
Mobile sports betting has been shut down in the state since March. It now appears that online sports betting may be making its way back to West Virginia, in the form of DraftKings. The West Virginia DraftKings Sportsbook app completed its regulatory testing and could launch as soon as June. Although, there currently is no exact timeline as to when it will launch. However, the West Virginia lottery expects Hollywood Casino to unveil their new sports betting app sometime in the next week.
We can expect to see the West Virginia DraftKings Sportsbook app to be identical to the one available for New Jersey residents. Apple users will be able to download the DraftKings sportsbook app on the iTunes Store. Android users will have to go to the DraftKings’ website to download the app.
This will be a big opportunity for DraftKings. Currently, they only have sports betting in two states, New Jersey and Mississippi. When DraftKings became the first to enter the New Jersey market, they were top dog for several months before FanDuel edged them out. Becoming the first of the two to get into West Virginia mobile betting can help them get the early advantage of FanDuel again.
One thing is for certain. If DraftKings is going to enter West Virginia’s mobile sports betting scene, you can surely expect FanDuel Sportsbook and William Hill to be right behind them. FanDuel already has access to West Virginia through The Greenbrier, where they run their physical sportsbook.
Is There Money In West Virginia?
Since the launch of sports betting in West Virginia back in September 2018, the state has only seen $1.1 million in tax revenue. The implementation of a DraftKings online sportsbook will certainly help that number skyrocket. In West Virginia operators pay $100,000 for licensing and renewal fees and sports betting revenue is taxed at 10 percent.
Under West Virginia law, the state’s five existing gambling facilities are allowed to offer sports betting both retail and online. There are currently three locations for sports betting in West Virginia. The Hollywood Casino, Mountaineer Casino, and the private resort The Greenbrier.
The Hollywood Casino at Charles Town already has a retail sportsbook but is going to partner up with DraftKings for their online sportsbook.
Both Delaware North-owned casinos, Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras, currently are not offering sports betting. This is a prime opportunity for DraftKings to come in and sweep up the market. In the short time that West Virginia did have mobile sports betting operational in the state, it did outperform the retail sportsbook in terms of revenue.
DraftKings will look to cash in not only West Virginia residents but neighboring states as well. Ohio, Kentucky, and Virginia have populations totaling 24 million. Compared to just 1.8 million in West Virginia, even if the market is small in there, out of state residents will travel to West Virginia to place their mobile bets. DraftKings has put itself in a great position in West Virginia.