As West Virginia begins to take the first online sports wagers, some people may notice a familiar name among the first few online sportsbooks to launch.
DraftKings and Penn National recently entered an agreement that would give DraftKings access to the West Virginia market. Announced on December 18, the daily fantasy sports betting giant announced their agreement to operate an online sportsbook for anyone to use across the Mountain State.
Matt Kalish, Chief Revenue Officer and co-founder of DraftKings, said in a statement:
"We are thrilled to work with Penn National Gaming to bring our online sportsbook product to West Virginia. We look forward to serving sports fans in the Mountain State and building on the immense success we have had in leading the New Jersey market. With over 90 percent of sports bettors returning to play after trying DraftKings Sportsbook, we are confident we can deliver on being the best place to play for West Virginia consumers."
John Finamore, Sr. Vice President of Regional Operations for Penn National Gaming, added as part of the same statement: "We are pleased to help welcome DraftKings to West Virginia. We believe the state will certainly benefit from DraftKings' tremendous brand awareness and expertise in providing customers a quality online sports betting experience."
DraftKings Expands Their Footprint
The agreement for DraftKings to operate in West Virginia seems to be through the Penn National owned Hollywood Casino and Resort at Charles Town Races. While DraftKings is now in possession of a license to begin operation, they still need to get approved for operation by the West Virginia Lottery Commission.
According to WVNews, Lottery Director John Myers said During the Lotter Commission Meeting on December 19 that DraftKings was in the process of getting their end ready, but that the commission had nothing to see yet.
"We've been contacted by DraftKings, but we basically have not received the information we use for testing at this time. We're in the process of communicating what we need from them as far as reports and geolocation."
While DraftKings already has an online sportsbook active in New Jersey, getting their sportsbook running in West Virginia will likely take some time because of the different laws in West Virginia. Myers also commented on that in the same meeting, saying, "I think you're going to find that as this rolls out across the nation, a company like DraftKings or FanDuel that has that nationwide initiative is going to have to make modification — even just on tax rates alone."
Online Sports Betting Comes to West Virginia
The news that DraftKings now has a license to operate an online sportsbook in West Virginia couldn’t come at a better time. Betting company Delaware North launched the first online sportsbook in West Virginia at BetLucky.com on December 27.
The timing coincides with the most exciting time of year for college football betting fans. The University of West Virginia’s bowl game in the Camping World Bowl against Syracuse on December 29, with the College Football Playoff semifinals taking place the next day.
Along with BetLucky.com, the Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack and Mardi Gras Casino & Resort both opened retail sportsbooks on the same day. That brings the total of in-person sportsbooks in West Virginia to five, in time for what will likely be a very happening weekend for sports betting.