West Virginia became only the fifth U.S. State to introduce legal sports betting on August 30 2018, and just two weeks ago, the Mountain State became only the third state to launch online sports betting.
However, West Virginia defies expectations in many ways. It all just goes to prove that you don’t need successful sporting teams in your state, to set up a viable and innovative sports betting industry that both players and industry experts love.
Why West Virginia’s Sports Betting will succeed
While sports betting is now legal in West Virginia, it will be eye-opening to watch how the practice unfolds during 2019. It’s only early days so far for West Virginia, however let’s look at some of the early numbers;
- According to a press release issued by the West Virginia Lottery, the state received tax receipts of $29,541.75 from the first official weekend of sports betting at the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races last September.
- In the first three-weeks of operation, West Virginia sportsbooks took in almost $3.4 million in total wagers and raced to the $10 million mark in only 6 weeks.
- West Virginia sports betting is well on-track to meet its first-year projections of $5.5 million in taxes raised in its first 12 months of operations
While West Virginia will never be New Jersey, and nor should it want to be. Nonetheless, the early numbers are great and sports betting will develop in a different and more boutique way in West Virginia, however, still becoming a huge success.
Given its now easier than ever before to make a sports bet in West Virginia, expect the state to continue to develop its online sports betting options and take advantage of its early online sports betting uptake in January 2019 to be seen by many other states as a model to follow.
Sports teams could look to earn income and fans through West Virginian sports betting partnerships, just as the New Jersey Devils have done in The Garden State.
With online sports betting launched this month in West Virginia, it is readily apparent that the only constant in the post-PASPA world since the Supreme Court voted it down, has been the uncertainty of the legislative landscape it has created.
The combination of West Virginia, New Jersey and Nevada appear at first glance to be an odd group of bedfellows leading the march as a band of states for online sports betting in the United States. However, as historians remind us from time-to-time, history is often determined by the brave who jump in feet first and lead the way for others to follow.
Subsequently, it has transpired in exactly that way for West Virginia as the neighboring District of Columbia also looks to introduce legal sports betting.
West Virginia a step ahead of the District of Columbia
It was originally thought that West Virginia’s budding sports betting industry could face stiff new competition from Washington, District of Columbia (D.C), after the D.C. City Council approved the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act on 18 December 2018, permitting retail and digital sports betting in the capital’s region. D.C. has a population of almost 700,000 and teams in each of the major sports leagues, which of course, West Virginia does not have.
However, with a boutique heritage of allowing change through debate and discussion, West Virginia has managed to stay ahead of its rival.
While the D.C. City Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and fellow Councilors are locked in a bureaucratic entanglement, arguing over a two-block sports betting exclusivity zone at the capital’s sporting stadiums, West Virginia online sports betting surges ahead.