BetMGM Launches iGaming in West Virginia, Sportsbooks Set to Return to Delaware North Casinos

Posted on: August 27, 2020, 12:21h. 

Last updated on: August 27, 2020, 10:44h.

UPDATE (9 a.m. ET, Aug. 27) – BetMGM officially announced its iGaming launch Thursday morning. The online casino platform will offer 32 games, including progressive slots.

DraftKings now has competition for iGaming players in West Virginia.

BetMGM iGaming
BetMGM launched its iGaming app in West Virginia on Wednesday, state lottery officials announced. The app is a mobile skin of The Greenbrier Resort, shown above. (Image: Steve Helber/AP)

West Virginia Lottery Director John Myers told the Lottery Commission at its meeting Wednesday that his staff expected BetMGM to roll out its iGaming product later in the day. A visit to the website for the Roar Digital’s product Wednesday night showed the online casino was available.

BetMGM made its announcement Thursday morning. Like its sports betting app, which launched in January, BetMGM’s iGaming app will operate through an agreement with The Greenbrier Resort.

In a statement, the company, a joint venture of MGM Resorts International and GVC Holdings, said its mobile app is available for Android and iOS platforms. A website version is also offered.

“With the largest slate of casino games in the state, we’re confident that our superior offering will quickly become the online gaming destination of choice for players,” BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblat said in the release.

DraftKings became the first iGaming provider in the state six weeks ago, making its casino available  through its existing mobile sports betting app and a standalone app.

West Virginia is the fourth state in the nation to approve iGaming providers, joining Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Michigan is also expected to allow online casino gaming, perhaps as early as later this year, and officials in other states, such as Indiana, have said they may explore allowing its casinos to offer online apps as well.

BetMGM currently offers iGaming in New Jersey, and in its statement, it says it plans to roll out its platform in Pennsylvania and Michigan, pending regulatory approvals.

West Virginia iGaming Outpaces Mobile Sports Betting

As has been the case elsewhere, West Virginia is showing the market for iGaming is very lucrative, even moreso than sports betting.

Through the first five weeks of online casino play, nearly $44.8 million has been bet on the DraftKings iGaming app. According to data from the West Virginia Lottery, that’s led to revenues of more than $1 million and state funding of nearly $130,000.

For perspective, in the same time frame, mobile sports betting has generated just $18.4 million in handle. And that’s with three mobile sportsbooks in the state.

Other states also see a significantly higher handle for iGaming than sports betting. Pennsylvania, which has nine casinos offering iGaming apps, reported an online slots handle of $1.1 billion for July and $720 million in table game bets, according to data from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

Pennsylvania’s online sports betting apps reported a handle of $155.4 million last month.

In New Jersey, iGaming apps produced revenues of $87.5 million in July, compared to sportsbook revenues of $13.8 million for the month.

Delaware North Set to Resume Sportsbook

BetMGM isn’t the only gaming company to launch a product in West Virginia this week.

Myers also told the commission that Delaware North is expected to resume sportsbook operations in the state. The gaming company operates the Mardi Gras Casino and Resort in Cross Lanes and the Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack in Wheeling.

Delaware North was the first to launch an online sportsbook in the state last year. But both the app and retail sportsbooks shut down nearly 18 months ago when its former back-end partner Miomni lost access to the platform it provided to the New York-based gaming company.

Delaware North eventually filed suit against Miomni and started looking for a new provider. It announced a new partnership with IGT in January.

Both the online and Mardi Gras sportsbooks are slated to launch Thursday, with Wheeling Island’s retail opening scheduled for Sept. 2.

Both of these will be a soft opening,” Myers said. “Basically, they’re not going to be doing a lot of promotional activity at the beginning. There’ll be no promotional wagering, either. It’ll just be, ‘Here’s the game you want to bet’ until it gets up and running a little bit better. So, we’re glad to see them back in the market, and we’ll work with them in every way we can.”

In addition, lottery officials said they expect to conduct testing next week for William Hill’s sports betting app. William Hill serves as the sportsbook operator for Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort.