Online Casino Gaming in West Virginia Surges in the Last Two Months
It has already been over a year since West Virginia passed the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act. This was passed in March 2019 and since then, online casino betting became legal in this state. However, the state mainly focused on working on local mobile sports betting regulation. Betting giants FanDuel and DraftKings Sportsbooks were able to get their licenses in August 2019.
It was only on April 29 of this year when the West Virginia Lottery Commission approved a set of emergency rules to govern and regulate online casinos in the state. On July 15, DraftKings Casino was the first to launch followed by BetMGM Casino.
Now, three months from the launch of online casinos in West Virginia, the online casino handle of the state has already totaled around 100 million US dollars. This is despite the fact that there are still only two online casinos running in the state.
Online casino games like slot machines, blackjack, and poker are now playable in the local casinos in West Virginia. Players can also choose to play live dealer games where they can play with a dealer and other players as well.
We can expect that more of these casinos will open in the future. However, the West Virginia Lottery has already confirmed that no additional casinos and sportsbooks have been approved to operate any time soon just yet.
The first week of online casinos in West Virginia peaked at 7 million US dollars. During the second week, it went up to 9 million US dollars, and in the third week, it went up to 12 million US dollars.
September has been great for the betting industry in West Virginia. In the week of September 12 alone, the two online casinos were able to take over 17 million US dollars of bets in total. The overall handle was actually able to exceed 10 million US dollars in each of the last four weeks.
It is DraftKings that’s responsible for around 35 million US dollars in wagers in the last three weeks. BetMGM Casino, meanwhile, had a total handle of around 9 million US dollars. This is understandable as it was only during this time that BetMGM went live. During the opening week of BetMGM, it was able to get a total handle of 2 million US dollars.
It is likely that BetMGM will get an increase in revenues as it starts to get recognized in the state. DraftKings just really had the advantage as it was the first casino site to launch.
Every other week, the two online casinos would earn at least 109,000 US dollars in revenue. This has already gone above 200,000 four times in the last nine weeks. Since West Virginia has imposed a 15 percent privilege tax on mobile betting, the state has already earned over 200,000 US dollars in just two months.
With all these numbers, we can expect that the online betting handle will continue to grow up in the next few months, especially if the locals will be given more options or if more online casinos will open in the state.
The pandemic may have something to do with the surge of online casino players as well. Since March, when lockdowns were implemented by different countries and states in the US, online casinos did report a spike in their traffic.
People are staying at home, trying to entertain themselves during this time, and casino gaming has been one of their newfound hobbies. What may have also pushed the growth of online casino players worldwide was the lack of sports events in the months of March to May.
Many sports events were canceled and postponed because of the pandemic, and punters more likely chose to play casino games during that time. The world of sports is already making a comeback and so is sports betting. However, the pandemic is not yet over and it’s not impossible that the sports industry may have to hit the pause button once again.
This is why this could be the perfect time for online casinos to become regulated in the different states in the US. Many states are starting to have the need for more revenues because of the pandemic and regulating local online casinos can be part of the solution.
Even without a pandemic, online casino gaming has been growing in the last few years. It’s mainly because of convenience. Through online casinos, people get to play any casino games that they want with their mobile devices anywhere they are. Online casino gaming is seen as the future of the gambling industry.