Mixed Bag for West Virginia Sports Betting and iGaming

Posted on: August 9, 2023, 05:18h. 

Last updated on: August 10, 2023, 12:37h.

Sports betting and iGaming operators are pulling out of a summer slump in West Virginia. But the bigger picture in terms of handle doesn’t show any momentum.

The Greenbrier West Virginia sports betting
The Greenbrier Resort in White Springs, WVa., pictured above, was the leader in sports betting in The Mountain State for the first half of the year. (Image: The Greenbrier)

In July, there were slight increases in retail and legal online sports betting dollars. Mountain State operators took in $20,903,045 in combined wagering during the month, according to the West Virginia Lottery. The numbers mark a 2.3% increase from June, which came in at $20,429,650. The year-over-year picture shows a decline of more than 16%.

The July numbers reveal an increase in sports betting revenues for the state and increased use of mobile apps. More than $18 million of the $20,429,650 in handle for sports wagers came from mobile betting apps. Revenue and taxes were up 53.3% from June, with July sports betting revenue at $2,511,985 and taxes at $213,519.

For the first seven months of this year, the state has taken in just under $252 million in sports betting handle. West Virginia became the fifth state to legalize sports gambling in August of 2018. The state offers in-person and online sports wagering.

Hold Rates of Note

A hold of 14.3% places the Greenbrier, which used FanDuel, BetMGM, and Golden Nugget, at the top of West Virginia sports betting in July. Total online handle came in at $8.8 million, with revenue of $1.3 million.

Charles Town, partnered with DraftKings, Barstool Sportsbook, and PointsBet, came in second with a $8.2 million handle and a 7.9% hold. That’s well behind its primary competitor, with Charles Town bringing in $643,449 in revenue.

Of the five retail sportsbooks, four of them finished in the black. Mardi Gras was the best performer, winning 55% of the wagers it collected, leading to a July profit of $216,124.

While West Virginia doesn’t have professional sports, it does separate the Midwest from the East Coast. The state is surrounded by teams in Ohio to the west, Pennsylvania to the north, and Maryland and the District of Columbia to the east.

New Entrants in the West Virginia Market

Caesars Entertainment has added to its iGaming investment with the launch of its new West Virginia online casino app. The website for the new Caesars Palace Casino WV reads, “New online casino. Same iconic palace.”

The app features a full-scale casino separate from its sportsbook product, which has a combined casino with limited offerings. It also includes the Caesars Rewards program.

The Betly Casino and Sportsbook app also relaunched in West Virginia this month. Customers can place a sports bet and play online casino games from one app.

Online casinos represent a greater revenue opportunity than sportsbooks. According to the American Gaming Association, in the first four months of 2023, online casinos produced just under $2 billion in overall revenue from just six states.

West Virginia is one of the smallest legal online casino gaming markets. But fiscal year numbers are anything but small. The FY 2022/2023 numbers show revenue and state taxes increased 61% year over year.