The gaming regulator in the Mountain State is considering joining an interstate compact. The said compact should help the state get its first internet poker operators. Another thing that the compact must provide is a player pool big enough to support poker in the state.
Following President Joe Biden‘s Department of Justice failure to appeal on the Federal Wire Act, which now means, interstate poker is now legal. West Virginia‘s interest in joining the interstate compact is just one of the multiple about to happen.
Now, most gaming activities are legal. Even most gaming law attorneys agree that online gambling such as poker and casino games is now legal, and there is nothing to restrict interstate gaming.
Yet, West Virginia legalized online poker in 2019. However, considering its small population of 1.8 million, the poker market in West Virginia falls short. This can only change if the state decides to join the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement.
If West Virginia decides to join the compact, it will share player pools with other states, including New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware. Alternatively, the state could develop a new compact with other states other than NJ, Delaware, and Nevada. Pennsylvania and Michigan would be the most favorable.
Swift Transition Into iGaming
With the adoption of the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act in 2019, internet gambling became legal in Mountain State. Online casinos were not present in the state until the Coronavirus pandemic forced the legislature to create emergency rules.
The five land-based casinos were closed, motivating the state to allow rules allowing the launch of online platforms. The emergency rules allowed all the five casinos in the state to seek an interim online gaming license. This license would be valid for nine months.
DraftKings was the first to launch an online casino under Hollywood Casino in July 2020. BetMGM WV followed a month later, in partnership with Greenbrier Resort.
In November 2020, Golden Nugget reported that they were partnering with Greenbrier to offer an online casino and sportsbook. However, the two are yet to go live with either of the products.
This year, Rush Street Interactive has launched an online casino with a Mountaineer Casino license. Similarly, William Hill is offering an online platform under the Greenbrier license.
Emergency Rules Turn Into Long Term Law
West Virginia created emergency rules in April 2020. These became effective in May 2020 and were meant to last for 270 days.
In April 2021, the legislature enacted the rules into law, which now expires on August 1, 2026. The new law requires online software providers to pay $10,000 while the online gaming operator will pay $100,000 per year.
There are five land-based sportsbooks in Mountain State. The one at Greenbrier resort is operated by FanDuel, while the one in Mountaineer Casino is run by William Hill. The Hollywood Casino is run by DraftKings.
The other two facilities, including Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras, use IGT to run Betly sportsbooks. On the other hand, there are four online sportsbooks. FanDuel and DraftKings have individually partnered with Greenbrier and Hollywood Casino to offer mobile sports wagering.
Considering a casino can have up to three online betting apps, Greenbrier is also in partnership with BetMGM to offer online bookies, while William Hill has partnered with Mountaineer Casino. By seeking an interstate compact, WV will soon have interstate poker through the same software providers powering various casinos for online casinos and sportsbooks.
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