Eve Of Sports Betting In West Virginia
The Hollywood Casino & Inn at Charles Town Races in Ranson, West Virginia announced it will offer legal sports betting within the next three weeks. The announcement followed the Lottery Commission’s filing of legislative rules for public comment. Danielle Boyd, managing legal counsel for the state Lottery Commission, which will provide regulatory oversight of the state’s sports betting operations, said the agency hoped all sports books would launch at the same time, prior to football season. “As we move forward, it appears that we’re going to have sort of a phased launch and it’s going to be a tiered approach. We’re just really excited to see that Charles Town will be ready to launch by September 1,” Boyd said.
Mobile and online sports betting will become available after physical sports books are open, she said. The state’s enabling legislation states after betting software is approved and operational, patrons will be able to register, deposit funds and bet on sports from anywhere in the state. “The technology for mobile and online is new to us in West Virginia. We’re starting from square one, whereas New Jersey already had online casinos in place, online poker and other casino-style games,” Boyd said.
U.K.-based Miomni Holdings, booking from Las Vegas, will partner with Hollywood Casino at Charles Town and Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Racetrack in Wheeling to create numbers, according to Gaming Today. In addition, William Hill has a deal in place with a soon-to-be announced partner in West Virginia. The Greenbrier Resort, owned by the family of Governor Jim Justice, will cut a ribbon at its FanDuel Sportsbook, now owned by Paddy Power Betfair, sometime after September 1. The Mardi Gras Casino and Resort and Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort have not yet announced sports book partnerships.
West Virginia was the first state to pass sports betting law in 2018, the West Virginia Lottery Sports Wagering Act, approved in March, legalizing sports betting in anticipation of the U.S. Supreme Court lifting the federal ban, which occurred May 14.
Sports book operators will pay a 10 percent tax on retail or online gross gaming revenue. The Lottery Commission estimates sports betting will generate a minimum of $5.5 million in the 2019 fiscal year.
Boyd said sports book staff training at the Hollywood Casino & Inn at Charles Town Races is set for the last week of August. State employees will be on-site to help explain the new law, she added.
The legislative rules were posted after a delay of two months, with just two days left before the deadline. If the rules had not been posted in time, the launch of sports betting automatically would have been pushed back to March 2019 or later. Some state casino operators believed the Justice administration caused the delay to rewrite the rules and have an “integrity fee” paid to professional sports league. The fee was not included in the legislation.