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An Overview Of Casino Gambling In West Virginia

The Mountain State is home to five legal casinos. All five offer a smattering of Vegas-style casino games and some feature a racetrack where patrons can bet on either ponies or puppies (or both). In 2018, all five casinos began taking sports bets and very recently, a mobile sports betting app has been rolled out with the expectation of more on the way in 2019.

A little history

All of West Virginia’s casinos began operations looking nothing like the modern casinos they now are. One (The Greenbrier) was a fancy resort for decades, boasting visits from 26 US presidents. All the others operated for several decades as simple racetracks (dog, horse, or both), offering no other gambling options except betting on the races themselves.

In the last several years, these properties have all added modern casino gaming with slots, table games, video poker, live poker, and all the modern trappings visitors expect in a full casino.

Most recently, West Virginia’s legislature has quickly acted to capitalize on the US Supreme Court’s repeal (in May 2018) of the nationwide prohibition on sports betting. Both legislation and regulations were crafted quickly and by August 2018 the first legal sportsbook was opened in the Mountain State (at Hollywood Casino, Charles Town) and now all five casinos are legally taking sports bets in West Virginia.

Five casinos spread across the Mountain State

All five of West Virginia’s casinos have a rich and interesting history and offer a different mix of gambling options. Here’s a brief look at each one:

The Casino  Club at The Greenbriar

The Greenbriar is a luxury resort located in a part of the Allegheny Mountains that has been prized by visitors seeking to “take the waters” of the area since 1778. The current incarnation of the resort was built in 1913 and boasts that 26 former US presidents have stayed there over the years.

In 2009, casino gaming was added to the property and the next year saw the opening of the permanent Casino Club facility as it stands today. This casino is the only in the state that restricts access to hotel guests (dining counts as being a guest), members of the local Sporting or Tennis Club, or convention or event attendees. It’s also the only one to enforce a dress code.

Table games

At the Casino Club here are 37 different tables that offer the following games at a variety of betting limits:

  • Blackjack
  • Roulette
  • Three Card Poker
  • Texas Hold’em Bonus
  • Baccarat (mini and midi)
  • Craps

Gaming machines

They have 320 different slot machines at a variety of denominations.

Sports betting

Since September 2018, the Greenbriar Casino Club is home to a FanDuel sportsbook taking bets on all major US sports. FanDuel is a well-known Daily Fantasy Sports operator that was recently purchased by UK sportsbook powerhouse Paddy Power Betfair.

Currently, Greenbriar has no mobile (online) sportsbook and due to the exclusivity of the casino itself, it’s very possible that they won’t bother creating one. On the other hand, they may create one to accommodate guests during their stay. We will have to wait and see.

Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races

Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races is located at the end of the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, very close to Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington DC. It still operates as a thoroughbred horse racetrack and is also the largest of the state’s five casinos and the one closest to offering its guests the full “Vegas casino” experience.

Table gaming

There are 75 different gaming tables here that offer the following games at a variety of limits:

  • Blackjack
  • Craps
  • Roulette
  • Three Card Poker
  • Four Card Poker
  • Texas Hold’em Bonus
  • Let it Ride
  • Baccarat (mini)
  • Pai Gow Poker
  • Big Six Wheel

Gaming machines

Hollywood Casino has over 2,500 slot machines at a variety of denominations from penny slots to high limit varieties that can be spun for $100 a pull.

Live poker

Hollywood Casino has a 16-table poker room open 24/7. The room spreads limit and no-limit Texas Hold’em, Limit Omaha/8, pot-limit Omaha and pot-limit Omaha/8.

Racing

Racing at Charles Town is still the property’s pride and joy and live racing is on offer year-round. Races from around the country (horses and greyhounds) are also available to view and bet on via simulcast.

Sports betting

Hollywood Casino was the first West Virginia casino to open a live sportsbook, taking its first bets in August 2018. They chose as their technical partner sports betting industry giant William Hill. The sportsbook offer lines on football, basketball, hockey, soccer, baseball, golf, tennis, auto racing, rugby, cycling, boxing, MMA, and cricket. Types of wagers include straight bets, parlays, match-ups, futures, props, and in-play betting.

Currently Hollywood Casino offers no mobile (online) sports betting but with William Hill’s long experience in this area, they could quickly launch one and many expect them to do this early in 2019.

Mardi Gras Casino and Resort

This casino, located on the outskirts of Charleston (and 43 miles from Huntington) , is the closest to West Virginia’s two largest towns. This central location helps it with in-state traffic but makes it somewhat less appealing for out-of-state visitors.

The property began life as a live greyhound racetrack and expanded in 2008 to offer Vegas-style casino gaming as well as simulcast horse and dog races.

Mardi Gras Casino is owned and operated by Delaware North, a New York management company that also owns Wheeling Island Casino in northern West Virginia.

Table gaming

There are 30 different gaming tables on offer at Mardi Gras Casino where players can find the following games at a variety of limits:

  • Blackjack
  • Craps
  • Roulette
  • Three Card Poker
  • Big Six Wheel
  • Mississippi Stud
  • Criss Cross Poker

Machine Gaming

There are over 900 different slot machines on the Mardi Gras casino floor including small and large denomination offerings as well as some with progressive jackpot features.

Mardi Gras also offers a Fusion Hybrid Roulette area in which players sit at electronic tables around a live roulette table, allowing more players to comfortably (and privately) bet on a single live game.

Live poker

Mardi Gras Casino has a 24-table poker room that offers daily tournaments and live cash games. Games spread here are limit and no-limit Texas Hold’em, limit Omaha/8, and limit 7-Card Stud. The room has a bad beat jackpot available for all these poker variants.

Racing

Like it’s sister property, Wheeling Island Casino, Mardi Gras has a live racetrack featuring greyhound racing. Live races are run five days a week (Wed-Sun) and simulcast races (both horse and dog) are also available for wagering.

Sports betting

Mardi Gras Casino launched their sportsbook with tech partner Miomni in December 2018 in their brand new Bet Lucky sportsbook centrally located on the main casino floor. They offer lines on football, basketball, hockey, baseball, boxing, MMA, NASCAR, soccer, golf, and much more.

Mardi Gras (and Wheeling Island) have launched their mobile (online) sportsbook app called BetLucky. It went online at the same time both casinos launched their retail sportsbooks, making them first to market in this important new gambling arena.

Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack

This casino is located in the city of Wheeling, in the north part of West Virginia. Like many of its Mountain State brethren, this property began life as a racetrack, featuring harness and thoroughbred racing since it was built in 1866. Casino gaming was added much more recently in 2007.

Wheeling Island Casino is owned and operated by Delaware North, a New York management company that also owns Mardi Gras Casino in northern West Virginia.

Table gaming

Wheeling Island is one of West Virginia’s smaller casinos and as such has a smaller selection of games offered on around 30 different tables. Games they offer include Craps, Blackjack, Roulette, and more.

Machine gaming

This property has over 1,100 different slot machines and over 80 different titles available at various denominations. Both reel and video versions are available and some feature progressive jackpots.

Live poker

Wheeling Island offers a small 9-table poker room that spreads limit and no-limit Texas Hold’em, limit Omaha/8, and limit 7-Card Stud. They also offer various player promotions.

Racing

Keeping to its historic roots, Wheeling Island offers year-round greyhound racing five nights a week (Wed-Sun). In addition, horse and dog races from other venues are simulcast and wagers are accepted on all of these contests.

Sports betting

Wheeling Island Casino launched their sportsbook with tech partner Miomni in December 2018 in their brand new Bet Lucky sportsbook centrally located on the main casino floor. They offer lines on football, basketball, hockey, baseball, boxing, MMA, NASCAR, soccer, golf, and much more.

Mardi Gras (and Wheeling Island) have launched their mobile (online) sportsbook app called BetLucky. It went online at the same time both casinos launched their retail sportsbooks, making them first to market in this important new aspect of casino gaming.

Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack, and Resort

This casino is located in northern West Virginia, on the Ohio border and a short drive from Pittsburgh, PA.

The Mountaineer began life as a thoroughbred racetrack in 1951 and is noteworthy for being the first in the US to get slot machines (in 1994) thus becoming the nations first “racino”.

Table gaming

The Mountaineer has 36 tables that offer a variety of games at a variety of betting limits. Their selection includes:

  • Craps
  • Blackjack
  • Roulette
  • Three Card Poker
  • Texas Hold’em Bonus
  • Let It Ride
  • Mississippi Stud Poker
  • Four Card Poker
  • Spanish 21

Machine gaming

The Mountaineer Casino has 78,000 square feet of casino floor space that houses 1,525 different slot machines. There are both reel and video slot options as well as several video poker machines. Many of the machines on offer have progressive jackpots.

Live poker

The Mountaineer Casino offers live poker in their River Poker Room. Open 24/7, the room offers several different games and limits.

Racing

This track offers live horse racing year round as well as nationwide races simulcast live. Bets can be placed on any and all of these races.

Sports betting

The Mountaineer Casino began taking sports bets in November 2018. They chose as their technical partner sports betting industry giant William Hill. The sportsbook offer lines on football, basketball, hockey, soccer, baseball, golf, tennis, auto racing, rugby, cycling, boxing, MMA, and cricket. Types of wagers include straight bets, parlays, match-ups, futures, props, and in-play betting.

Currently The Mountaineer Casino offers no mobile (online) sports betting but with William Hill’s long experience in this area, they could quickly launch one and many expect them to do this early in 2019.

Sports betting details

Since legal sportsbooks are the most recent casino gaming addition to the West Virginia gambling landscape, let’s recap the latest particulars.

Who can bet sports in West Virginia?

Anyone over 21 years of age can gamble in West Virginia.

Who are the casinos partnered with to run their sportsbooks?

  • The Casino Club at Greenbrier Resort – FanDuel
  • Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races – William Hill
  • The Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack, and Resort – William Hill
  • Mardi Gras Casino and Resort – Maomi (featuring the BetLucky app)
  • Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack – Maomi (featuring the BetLucky app)

Is there mobile (online) sports betting in West Virginia?

Yes. Currently only Delaware North owned properties Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island are offering mobile sports betting – on the BetLucky app.

It is expected that Hollywood Casino and The Mountaineer will do so as well, as William Hill has plenty of experience in the mobile betting space.

The Casino Club at Greenbrier is a mystery in this regard. Tech partner FanDuel could easily roll out a mobile application but it remains to be seen if casino management wants to take their sportsbook in that direction.

What about Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS)?

DFS has been legally operating for quite some time in West Virginia. DraftKings, FanDuel, and many other industry participants are online in the Mountain State.