Is Online Gambling Legal in West Virginia?
Online gambling in West Virginia is currently not legal or regulated. This means that no online casino can operational for residents within the state’s border. This is enforced Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, which does not prohibit online gambling on its own, but rather the financial transactions involving online gambling services. This also includes to offshore online casinos. West Virginia is lenient towards the prospect of opening up the market, but has not actively discussed regulating the online gambling market as of yet.
With revenue of land-based casinos in a decline, the state will look towards iGaming, but will likely not actively pursue this endeavour until 2020.
Poker rooms are allowed in the state of West Virginia and can usually be found in one of the brick-and-mortar casinos or tribal casinos. Currently there are a total of 63 professional poker tables spread out across 5 official poker rooms.
One of the most popular destinations for poker players is the Mardi Gras Casino and Resort located in Nitro. The poker rooms here are a crowd-favourite and cater to most of the needs of the players. Many popular poker variations can be players in one of the poker rooms, such as Texas Hold'em, Limit Holdem, No Limit Holdem, 7 Card Stud, Pot Limit Omaha, Omaha 8 or Better, Tournaments, Omaha Hi-Lo Split and of course Omaha.
Online sportsbook is not legal in West Virginia, but horse betting and greyhound betting is fully permitted in one of the licensed tracks or racinos. Horse racing and greyhound racing have been available for recreational purposes ever since the 1930’s and the laws surrounding sportsbetting are likely not to change anytime soon.
West Virginia offers a multitude of land-based and tribal casinos all throughout the state. There are currently 5 operational brick-and-mortar casinos which gamblers can visit, with The Casino Club at The Greenbrier and the Hollywood Casino being the most popular. Out of all the available casinos in the state, Hollywood Casino is considered to be the biggest and the most elaborate with 2500 slot machines and 98 table games, outweighing the competition in terms of available commodities.
Land-based casinos in West Virginia are allowed to offer many of the standard casino commodities, such as table games and slot machines. Albeit not as flashy as casinos you’ll find in Atlantic City or Las Vegas, the land-based casinos you will find in West Virginia will still provide players will their favourite games. There are a total of more than 5000 slot machines and more than 220 table games available all across the state.
Table games that are allowed in casinos are roulette, craps and big 6. Dice games and baccarat are not legal within the state of West Virginia.
- The current five casinos based in West Virginia are:
- The Casino Club at The Greenbrier
- Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races
- Mardi Gras Casino and Resort
- Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort
- Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack
Racinos are a common sight in West Virginia and many other states where gambling options are limited compared to more lenient states like New Jersey. “Racinos” is a portmanteau of the words “racetrack” and “casino”. The option to build a racino is left up to the county to decide or can be implemented by popular vote.
There are currently a total of 5 racinos, the same number of casinos within the state. This means that all casino available within the state of West Virginia have race tracks available on the premises.
Racinos provide a large tax income for the state, having 35 to 49% of their gross revenue taxed by the state. Racinos also need to pay for a daily licence, which allows them to stay operational. Licence costs can vary between $150 and $250.
Lotteries are widely enjoyed and available within the state of West Virginia. The state has no state-owned lottery, but does have national and international lotteries available. Players can choose from Cash 25, Daily 3, Daily 4, Hot Lotto, Lotto America, MegaMillions and Powerball.
Gamblers can also find so called “video lotteries” located on any of the licensed casino or racinos, where players can purchase a lottery ticket from a terminal.
Gamblers who wish to enter a land-based casino located within West Virginia need to be at least 21 years old. To bet on any of the horse races or greyhound races, players need to be of 18 years of age. The same age is required for playing bingo and lotteries.
West Virginia currently has no regulating bodies operational within the state borders.
West Virginia might not be the most open and hospitable state for gamblers, but it does offer 5 locations where people can gamble legally. Table games are limited and all forms of online gambling activities are prohibited. However, with the decline in revenues of gambling facilities, it is likely that West Virginia will revise their laws on online gambling to meet the demand and increase the tax income made off gambling.
Sports betting seems to be a state favourite and provides a solid income for the state, hence why regulating the sports betting market might seem like a feasible option.