Less than six months after passing a bill to regulate sports betting, the state of West Virginia will see its first legal wagers placed September 1 at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races.
That news comes courtesy of Danielle Boyd – who serves as managing general counsel for the West Virginia Lottery Commission (WVLC) – after the state’s top gaming regulatory body issued the first sports betting permits to Penn National Gaming.
The parent company of the Hollywood Casino chain will be partnering with William Hill U.S. – the American branch of leading U.K. bookmaker William Hill and Las Vegas’ most prevalent sportsbook operator – for both branding and backend operations.
Daily fantasy sports (DFS) company FanDuel was also issued a permit, joining Penn National Gaming as the state’s first approved sportsbook operators. FanDuel expanded its scope to include traditional sports betting on July 14 by opening a branded facility at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey.
FanDuel has secured a similar partnership with the Casino Club at the Greenbrier, but that venue is still awaiting approval for its own sportsbook operator’s permit.
Boyd recently appeared on the MetroNews “Sportsline” show to discuss the latest sports betting developments in West Virginia, and she revealed that Hollywood Casino at Charles Town would be first to market:
“We had hoped everyone would launch at the same time and everyone would be up at the beginning of football season.
As we move forward, it appears that we’re going to have sort of a phased launch and it’s going to be a tiered approach.
We’re just really excited to see that Charles Town will be ready to launch by September 1.”
Of the five casinos in West Virginia, Hollywood Casino at Charles Town is the largest and most centrally located, with Washington D.C. and Baltimore located just an hour away.
The runup to legal sports betting is accelerating at a rapid pace
On August 9, just one day before Penn National Gaming and FanDuel were approved, the WVLC issued an interim permit to GeoComply Solutions, a leading geolocation supplier. GeoComply solutions will provide the technology needed to screen betting accounts while ensuring that eventual online and mobile wagers are placed within West Virginia’s borders.
David Briggs – chief executive officer of GeoComply – issued a press release to confirm the contract:
“West Virginia has been very proactive in their goal to become among the first states to introduce legal online sports wagering and we are grateful for the support they have shown us in the licensing process.
We are now ready to supply compliance-grade geolocation solutions to the local operators and partners in West Virginia to get online sports wagering up and running in the state.”
During her interview with MetroNews, Boyd of the WVLC alluded to ongoing collaboration with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (NJDGE) and other state regulators to accelerate West Virginia’s adoption of online wagering:
“The technology for mobile and online is new to us in West Virginia. We’re starting from square one, whereas New Jersey already had online casinos in place, online poker and other casino-style games.
We’ve been reaching out to our counterparts in Mississippi, our counterparts in Nevada and Delaware and any other jurisdictions that come on board.
We’re building a coalition to share information, share licensing information and also share any reporting of suspicious betting or other anomalies that might indicate there’s suspicious activity taking place.”