West Virginia Slowly Progressing Toward iGaming Launch
As some of you already know, West Virginia became the latest state to regulate online casino gambling in 2019. However, it appears that we are well over a year away before we see an official launch for West Virginia online gambling in the state.
According to an article on MetroNews, the West Virginia Lottery is presently in the process of drafting regulations for online gambling and hope to have them in place by next summer. You read that right folks, the Summer of 2020.
West Virginia Taking a Slower Path to Launch
MetroNews spoke with WV Lottery Director John Myers about the Lottery’s progress towards drafting emergency rules for online gambling. According to Myers, the Lottery is already working on those rules but also appear to be taking their time in doing so.
Myers told MetroNews: “We want to go and visit some states that have that product so we can make sure we are doing it in the right way as well.” New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania all now have online casinos in operation. Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey all offer online poker. Pennsylvania has yet to launch online poker operations.
The Lottery is in charge of regulating online gambling and iGaming will operate similar to sports betting in the state. State casinos will offer online casino products in partnership with third parties just as you see in other states.
Myers told MetroNews that iGaming will present its own set of challenges, stating: “Like everything else, when we were doing sports wagering we were learning new terminology and there’s new ways to set things up inside the casinos. You’ve got differences in the way you set up table games to sports wagering to racetrack video lottery.”
What to Expect from West Virginia Online Gambling
West Virginia online gambling will consist of online casino gambling and online poker. Referred to as interactive gaming in the state, casinos will have to pay $250,000 for an interactive gaming license with renewals costing $100,000 every five years. The state will collect 15% in taxes on iGaming revenue.
There are five casinos in West Virginia and it’s expected that all five will apply for interactive gaming licenses. One difference between West Virginia and other states is that the license gives casinos the right to offer online casino gambling and online poker. Other states required separate licenses.
We don’t know of any casino partner relationships for iGaming at the moment, but you can expect some of the same providers to operate in the state that presently operate in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. For online poker, expect PokerStars and 888 poker to try and establish operations, but due to the small size of the market, online poker offerings may be limited.
When Will Casino Gambling Launch in West Virginia?
Now comes the time we have to look in our crystal ball and take a guess as to when iGaming will launch. The Lottery has until the Summer of 2020 to get their emergency rules in place. Then there’s still the matter of licensing to take care of. Some are trying to claim that the Fall of 2020 is a reasonable launch date, but based on other states, we do not agree.
A much more reasonable date is the Summer of 2021. This is based on what we’ve seen in Pennsylvania. Unless West Virginia decides to accelerate the process in some way, we likely won’t see licensing concluded before the end of 2021. After that, we can expect casinos to work at a breakneck pace to launch iGaming.
For now, we are predicting a Summer 2021 launch date for online casino gambling and online poker in West Virginia. As always, we will keep you updated on any developments regarding online casino gambling in West Virginia.