The gambling outlook in West Virginia

West Virginia has always been known to be positively disposed toward gambling. It also has a place among the states with the most flexible gambling laws. They have legalized almost all types of betting, including casino gaming, iGaming, sports betting, and online poker, since 2018, when the Federal Government ban on sports betting was eased.

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📖 Published on: June 9th, 2023

✍️ Updated: 6 months ago

⏳ 17 mins read

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West Virginia image
West Virginia coat of arms image

Gambling in West Virginia can be traced back to 1931 when parimutuel betting on greyhound and horse races was legalized. It gained rapid traction among the populace. People, by 1984, voted in favor of establishing a state lottery which continued for a decade until Video Lottery Tickets (VLT) was introduced in 1994. This marked the full bloom of the gaming industry in West Virginia to what we have now, which has marked the legalization of online gambling.

Some of the various forms of gambling that are popular in WV are:

  • Video Lottery Tickets
  • Horse racing
  • Off-track betting
  • Charitable gamble
  • iGaming
  • Amusement games
  • Social gambling

West Virginia gambling laws and regulations

The legality of gambling in various states differs in America. Some are expectedly more lenient than others as regards the activity of betting. West Virginia gambling laws have always been inclined towards permitting gambling.

In 1994, racetracks witnessed the introduction of Video Lottery Tickets. In the same year, the first land-based casinos were established.

WV has four racinos, which is quite interesting given that horse racing is prohibited in some states. These racinos are located in border towns and, as such, make them easy to access by neighboring states. Two casinos even offer greyhound racing, although its popularity is quickly reducing.

Gambling in West Virginia is not illegal as long as you're above the minimum required age. The minimum age to bet in casinos is 21, the same as any other form of gambling that may require alcohol. You may, however, participate in horse race betting and charitable gaming if you're 18. Let's look at some legislation that has enabled gambling to thrive in WV.

 

Gambling laws in West Virginia

West Virginia Lottery Commission governs gambling in West Virginia and some other state administrative rules. The WVLC oversees the regulation of casino gaming, betting on sports, horse racing, and every other type of betting or gambling-related activity. They ensure that they are all conducted under state laws.

West Virginia's gaming/gambling laws are outlined in Section 61-10 of the WVLC's code. Unlicensed games and gambling activities aren't allowed to be played by West Virginians by law. The regulation on online bets could be clearer. Still, no court case against offenders has been brought to clarify the act.

In sections 61-10 of the West Virginia Code, other gambling offenses may be found in detail.

 

Modifications to anticipate in gambling legislation

West Virginia is already one of the states with laws that freely enable gaming/gambling. All major forms of gaming, web-based and land-based, are permitted by the WVLC (West Virginia Lottery Commission). These include:

  • Horse-racing betting
  • Poker
  • Casino gaming
  • Sportsbook betting

Lawmakers approved Internet Poker and casino games in 2019, a few months after online betting on sports was made legal in 2018, just before the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 was repealed.

If there's any change to gaming and gambling acts in WV, it will be to increase licenses that permit more forms of gaming.

 

Legal age to gamble in West Virginia

This is the most basic law by the West Virginia Lottery Commission to reduce gambling in children and compulsive gambling. The age limit for gambling in casinos is 21 years. However, people 18 years and above may participate in charitable gaming and pari-mutuel betting.

Real money casinos in West Virginia

West Virginia has just five local casinos, all scattered across the State. Four of the five casinos are called racinos because they have both racetracks and casinos.

Penn National, the owner of Hollywood Casino, Races, and Resorts located at Charles Town, was the first to be given a betting license. They officially started receiving bets on sports during the latter part of the summer of 2018. This set a precedent as three of the five casinos in West Virginia started sports betting also.

West Virginia Casinos

The West Virginia state government keeps a close leash on the number of approved Casinos in the State. West Virginia currently has five large land-based West Virginia casino resorts. They all allow VLTs and more traditional table games. These five casinos are:

 

Hollywood casino and races

Hollywood Casino and Races was opened in 1997. It is the largest in the State of WV. It has a size of 184,000sq/ft and features a 0.75-mile race track. It has 98 table games, of which 16 are poker tables. They also have 2500 slots. It is one of the casinos near Charleston West Virginia.

 

Wheeling Island casino, resort and racetrack

The oldest among the five in operation in West Virginia, Wheeling Downs was established in 1937. They have about 1100 slot machines. In addition, they offer 24 table games, of which nine are poker tables. They also offer greyhound racing.

 

The greenbrier

The Greenbrier is the newest of the casinos in West Virginia map. It opened back in 2009 and was fully legalized for operation in 2010. It is the second biggest casino in West Virginia with a land area of 103,000sq/ft. They offer 35 table games, of which two are poker tables. In addition, they have 320 slot machines in operation.

 

Mardi gras casino and resort

It is one of the casino resorts in West Virginia enacted by the 1994 Racetrack Video Lottery Act. It is the third-largest casino in WV. Its land area is 90,000sq/ft. It has 30 table games in operation and 24 poker tables. It is one of the casinos near Morgantown WV.

 

Mountaineer casino, racetrack and resort

Mountaineer was established in 1951, formerly Waterford Park. It is among the pioneers of casino activities in the State. West Virginia only has just one one-mile racino, and Mountaineer owns it. It is a dirt track turf course with a 7400 seating capacity. It is located in New Cumberland. It has 1525 slots, 12 tables dedicated to playing poker, and an additional 35 for other table games.

Online sports betting companies and casinos have been fully authorized since 2018. However, they are subject to a 15% tax and an additional $250,000 interactive license fee.

Nearest land based casinos

We've compiled a list of the most trusted land-based casinos if you're searching for "West Virginia casinos near me":

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Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races
Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races is located in Charles Town, West Virginia. With 132 rooms and 18 suites, guests will find comfort and convenience at their fingertips. At Hollywood Casino, you can choose from slots, video poker, video keno, video blackjack, craps, roulette, three card poker, four card poker, let it ride, mini-baccarat, Big Six Wheel, Pai Gow Poker. Experience the daily simulcasting of horse and dog racing, or take in a live thoroughbred racing seasonally. The property also features a food court with five fast-food outlets. Overnight RV parking is free, and RV dump is not available.
750 Hollywood Drive, Charles Town, WV 25414
Phone Number:
(304) 725-7001
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Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack
Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack is one of West Virginia's premier gaming and entertainment destinations. Located in Wheeling, the facility offers slots, table games, and a variety of live entertainment events. With a full racing calendar as well, visitors can enjoy a day spent at the track and then hit the casino floor for a night of electronic gaming and exciting live music. Wheeling Island offers plenty of local flavor, from the racetrack to the casino floor, making it a true West Virginia experience.
1 S. Stone Street, Wheeling, WV 26003
Phone Number:
(304) 232-5050
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Mardi Gras West Virginia Casino Resort
Mardi Gras West Virginia Casino Resort is an excellent place to get away and gamble. Located in Cross Lanes, West Virginia, the resort has 150 rooms, 21 suites and 3 restaurants. With 90,000 square feet of casino space playing slots, video poker, video keno, video blackjack, blackjack, craps, roulette, three card poker, four card poker, let it ride and big six wheel, there's something for everyone. The casino also has a sportsbook and you can even watch live dog racing Wednesday-Sunday, with daily simulcasting of horse and dog racing. Room prices range from $129-$169, while suites go from $189-$500. At Mardi Gras West Virginia Casino Resort, you can experience all the excitement of casino gaming with all the comforts of home.
1 Greyhound Drive, Cross Lanes, WV 25313
Phone Number:
(304) 776-1000
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Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort
Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort is West Virginia's favorite destination for live thoroughbred racing and gaming. Located in the town of New Cumberland, the casino offers 238 rooms for accommodations and 20 suites ranging from $79 to $169 and $165 to $229 respectively. Dining options include four restaurants and slots are open 24 hours daily. There is a wide variety of games available, including Slots, Video Poker, Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Poker, Three Card Poker, Four Card Poker, Let It Ride, Mini-Baccarat, Pai Gow Poker, and Spanish 21. Visitors can also enjoy outdoor activities such as a 18-hole golf course, and a spa and fitness center is available for those looking for relaxation and rejuvenation. Horse and dog racing simulcasting is offered seasonally. Additionally, there is free overnight RV parking at the resort. Consider visiting Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort this summer to enjoy the alluring attractions, gaming and food options, and the peaceful atmosphere of New Cumberland.
1420 Mountaineer Circle, New Cumberland, WV 26047
Phone Number:
(304) 387-2400
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Casino Club at The Greenbrier
Casino Club at The Greenbrier is located in White Sulphur Springs in West Virginia. With 238 rooms, a price range of $319-$545, and a casino floor size of 75,000 square feet, the classic resort casino offers guests slots, video poker, video keno, video blackjack, craps, roulette, poker, three-card poker, four-card poker, let it ride, baccarat, mini-baccarat, and a sports book. For those looking for a classic casino experience, the casino is open to hotel guests only and the dress code is strictly enforced.
300 W. Main Street, White Sulphur Springs, WV 24986
Phone Number:
(304) 536-1110
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Sports betting

In 2018, West Virginia fully legalized sportsbooks for operations. Subsequently, local casinos established their presence with brick-and-mortar locations through partnerships with reputable gambling firms.

Penn National, the owner of Hollywood Casino, Races, and Resorts located at Charles Town, was the first to be given a betting license. As a result, the sportsbook was referred to as the Hollywood Sportsbook. It is a collaboration with William Hill.

The second license was awarded to FanDuel in partnership with The Greenbrier. Their sports betting company is "FanDuel, in collaboration with the Greenbrier."

The Mardi Gras Casino and Wheeling Island, owned by Delaware North Casinos, established a land-based sportsbook called Betlucky before the year's end. However, they fell out with their service provider, which caused them to suspend betting activities temporarily. BetLucky remains operational, but players can only make deposits or wagers once the disputed issue has been solved.

The Mountaineer, a WV casino resort, is the last among the five casinos in West Virginia to start a land-based sports betting firm, with web betting options available through the "Mountaineer Sportsbook." The sports betting platform is in operation with a partnership with William Hill.

Additionally, West Virginians can participate in Pari-mutuel betting, which can be done online through third-party partners such as TVG and XpressBet.

Daily fantasy sports

West Virginia has deemed Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) contests legal. However, Patrick Morrisey, the State's Attorney General, once said that DFS requires substantial strategical play and skill from players and thus does not meet the minimum criteria needed to classify it as West Virginia gambling.

The bill clarifying the legal standing of DFS was proposed in 2017. Still, it needs to be acted upon after being referred to the State's judiciary.

Despite needing more clarification, West Virginia residents can still play DFS with popular sportsbooks such as FanDuel and BetMGM.

Bingo

In WV, games of bingo may be organized by charitable organizations as a means of raising funds. However, other charitable gaming forms like raffles are under strict watch by the West Virginia Lottery Commission.

At present, playing bingo online is not legally available in WV. Therefore, the prospects of sports betting offering online bingo when internet gaming begins still need to be determined.

It still counts as a crime, albeit a small one, to play bingo on illegal sites.

Poker

Poker is one of the most loved card games in the world. Live all five casinos in West Virginia offer poker rooms. However, they have different poker tables.

Despite being the second largest casino in WV, The Greenbrier has the least number of poker tables, with just two. Wheeling Island comes next with no poker tables compared to 24 tables dedicated to other table games.

The oldest of all five casinos, Mountaineer has 14 poker tables. The biggest casino in WV proves itself with 16 tables dedicated to playing live poker. Mardi Gras has the highest number of poker tables, with 24.

The most played poker variation in West Virginia casinos is the Texas hold'em. Poker competitions are held weekly in the biggest poker rooms. The price of participating in such competitions is usually between $50-$140.

Since WV legalized online betting in 2019, poker rooms have started taking place online.

West Virginia Poker

Lotteries

West Virginia legalized state lotteries in 1984. The lottery act that authorized the lottery was passed in 1985. The first scratch ticket was sold in 1986. West Virginia became a member of the Multi-State Lottery Association's Lotto America game in 1988. The membership has made the lottery in WV grow to offer so much more like:

  • Mega Millions
  • Daily 3
  • Daily 4
  • Powerball
  • Lotto America
  • Cash 25
  • Keno

WVLC also operates the VLTs in the State. To buy lottery tickets, you must get them from physical retailers on the West Virginia casinos map. Selling tickets online is completely prohibited by WVLC.

Gambling history of West Virginia

The earliest history of gambling and racing can be traced back to 1931, when the West Virginia Racing Commission was formed to oversee the operations of racetracks. In 1933, there were reports of pari-mutuel wagering taking place at the newly opened Charles Down Turf Club. Wheeling Downs soon opened as well in 1937.

One of the iconic West VA casino in the State, Waterford Park (now known as Mountaineer Park), opened in 1951. It is known to be the only race track with a one-mile track in the State. It is also the first race track to get slot machines.

1959 saw Shenandoah Downs open. It was located at the State's eastern border and featured five-furlong horse racing tracks.

1975 saw Wheeling Downs discontinue horse racing. Shenandoah Downs followed suit in 1979 as they completely closed down. The site remained until it was demolished in 2006.

The West Virginia Lottery Commission was established in 1985. They regulated video lottery, table games, and other related gambling in West Virginia. In addition, they allowed video lottery terminals to be placed at Mountaineer Park.

1994 marked a big change in history as the Racetrack Video Lottery Act was enacted. As a result, three racetracks in Mountaineer Park, Wheeling Downs, and Mardi Gras began operating video lotteries with about 1,200 video lottery machines.

Hollywood races and slots at Charles Town, West Virginia casinos opened for races in 1997.

In 2001, the legislature approved limited video lottery games that provided up to 9,000 video lottery terminals placed at various retail spots across the State. They all had licenses from the West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration.

Mardis Gras and other casinos soon followed suit in offering full table games and other West Virginia gambling in the following years.

Come March 2018, the West Virginia state government fully legalized sports betting. Online gambling followed suit a year later.

Responsible gaming in West Virginia

Given how liberal gambling in West Virginia is and the rise of gambling online, it is not uncommon to see players mismanage their resources due to gambling. But, unfortunately, they do not know when to stop.

Before deciding to prevent or correct addictive gambling or compulsion, you must recognize if you are a compulsive gambler. Reports show that 1-2% of gamblers experience various degrees of depression due to gambling. There are a few ways to know if someone has a gambling problem:

  • You have borrowed money to gamble
  • You often gamble longer than you originally planned
  • You have once committed a crime or broken the law to get enough money to gamble
  • Your gambling losses have made you feel depressed
  • You have ignored important bills while gambling with your income
  • Gambling with your last cash in the prospect of getting more to meet your financial needs.

 

There are some ways to prevent or correct addictive gambling. These are:

  • Age limit
  • Set a spending limit
  • Learn how to play the games properly
  • Self-exclusion
  • West Virginia Gamblers Anonymous
  • West Virginia National Council on Problem Gambling
  • Take occasional breaks

 

Set a spending limit

In the same way, you set a spending limit when going shopping or when going to enjoy yourself at the cinema. You can also limit how much you spend at the casino. You can do this by bringing only the cash you'll spend alone. No extra.

 

Learn how to play the games properly

To last longer at your favorite game, you should learn how to play it. Most games require a degree of skill and strategy. Learning it means your budget will last longer.

 

Self-exclusion

All West Virginia gambling institutions, both online and land-based, offer a self-exclusion feature. This is when a player decides to take a break from gambling at the institution. The break may be temporary or permanent.

You may even go to the State's gaming commission and file a document to completely ban yourself from all WV gambling institutions in the State.

 

West Virginia gamblers anonymous

Given the gambling-enabling laws in West Virginia, it's no surprise that addictive gambling still poses a problem to residents of West Virginia.

Gamblers Anonymous meetings are scattered across different locations in West Virginia to help gambling addicts meet with other people with similar problems to help share experiences, heal, and grow together.

 

West Virginia national council on problem gambling

The council offers programs for individuals in West Virginia seeking assistance for gambling problems.

 

Take occasional breaks

One effective way of effecting responsible gambling is taking occasional breaks or cooldowns. This helps prevent unnecessary gambling and clear your mind when you resume gambling West Virginia sessions.

Conclusion

West Virginia is among the states that offer one of the most generous gambling opportunities. With a rich history of gambling and racing, West Virginia always had laws to promote gambling. In addition, land-based and online gambling is legal in West Virginia, making it a great destination for any experienced gambler.

There are even some casinos on the West Virginia casino map that can rival the great casinos in Las Vegas! While it may command different respect than those in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, it is still a great destination with lots to offer. Some strong characteristics of casinos in West Virginia are:

  • They offer all major gambling services and products
  • Five-star accommodation
  • Easily accessible by the neighboring states.

FAQ

Casino games that can be played online?

Given West Virginia's liberal gambling laws, all major casino games can be played online. They range from Poker, Baccarat, Blackjack, Roulette, Craps, Caribbean Stud, and so on. The variations of the games can also be played online.

Who regulates WV online gambling sites?

All gambling institutions and activities in West Virginia have been regulated by the West Virginia Lottery Commission by law since 1984. All casinos, both online and land-based, are all strictly supervised. In addition, all casino slots must have between 85-97% Return To Player (RTP). A $250,000 license fee and a 15% tax are some of the acts that regulate their activities. The commission also makes periodic checks to make sure that the gaming offered by the online West Virginia gaming company is fair.

Can I play at WV legal online gambling sites?

According to West Virginia's gambling laws on legality, you must be at least 21 years old to play at land-based casinos or any other gambling activity involving alcohol. Other activities like off-track and charitable gambling require a minimum age of 18. These include online casinos as well. Another legal requirement to play at legal online gambling WV sites is that you must be physically present in West Virginia to place a bet at an online sportsbook. So while you may create an account outside the State, you can only place a wager if you reside in West Virginia.

What online casinos can be played in West Virginia?

All forms of online casinos can be found in West Virginia. However, live dealer games, poker tables, blackjack, baccarat, and roulette are the most popular ones that can be found.

Author
Katarina Oakshore
Editor | Casinos and Gambling

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