West Virginia sportsbooks handle $7.5m in wagers in September


west-virginia-sports-betting-legislationWest Virginia’s first full month of legal sports betting handled nearly $7.5m in wagers, although its private club sportsbook proved a bit of a bust.

Tuesday saw the West Virginia Lottery Commission report the results of the state’s legal wagering activity for September, the first full month of betting since Penn National Gaming’s Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races popped the state’s betting cherry in the last week of August.

The Commission said September’s wagering handle hit $7.44m, with Hollywood Casino’s William Hill-powered sportsbook handling $7.07m of that total. The Greenbrier Resort, a members-only facility owned by the state’s governor, handled the other $369k, although the Fanduel-powered sportsbook didn’t open until mid-month.

The two books paid out a total of $5.45m in winnings, leaving just under $2m in ‘revenue,’ although some of that total involves wagers for which the outcome has yet to be decided. Regardless, the state’s tax haul came to just under $200k. More importantly, the major sports leagues didn’t get a penny.

The state’s other three casinos have yet to launch their sportsbooks, although Delaware North’s Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras casinos plan to be offering betting by November. The Charleston Gazette-Mail quoted Lottery director Doug Buffington saying the Mountaineer Racetrack & Casino had anted up its $100k sports betting license fee but its timeline to launch was offered only as “soon.”

None of the casinos have launched their mobile wagering apps, as permitted under the state’s betting regulations. Buffington said Delaware North is aiming to launch both its app and its retail betting operations simultaneously.

Online and mobile channels accounted for well over half of New Jersey’s September betting handle of $184m, illustrating the gains that a full-spectrum betting product can offer. By comparison, the purely land-based wagering market in Mississippi – which admittedly has only one-third of New Jersey’s population – reported handle of $31.8m in September.

Meanwhile, West Virginia’s Racing Commission also met Tuesday, and Commissioner Ken Lowe used the occasion to lobby the state’s four racetrack casinos to install pari-mutuel betting kiosks in their sportsbooks in the hopes of encouraging sports bettors to consider tossing a few bucks towards the ponies while waiting for their sports events to conclude.