Online Gambling in West Virginia: An Expert Guide

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Gambling in West Virginia

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Online Gambling in West Virginia: an Expert Guide

West Virginia’s gambling laws allow most forms of brick-and-mortar gambling, though licensing authorities limit most forms of gambling to a handful of venues. At the same time, West Virginia has a thick set of statutes which describe illegal gambling. Penalties for illegal gambling are fairly punitive, as law enforcement has the right to charge almost anyone who helps illegal gambling dens (including bouncers and bartenders).

For the most part, though, West Virginia has permissive laws when it comes to gambling. It has a state lottery, charitable gambling, a low minimum age for making a bet, sports betting, and casino gambling. Online gambling is unlikely to be legalized anytime soon, but for a red state, West Virginia has fairly liberal laws for legal gamblers.

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West Virginia Online Gambling FAQs

West Virginia Gambling Laws

West Virginia has legal land-based casinos, horse tracks, dog tracks, OTBs, and social gambling. In August 2019, West Virginia passed legal sports betting. Among southern states, West Virginia has one of the most permissive set of statutes towards gambling.

At the moment, West Virginia still does not have regulated online casinos or poker, but it does have mobile sports betting through 5 land-based sportsbooks.

Does West Virginia Have Land-Based Casinos?

Yes. West Virginia has 5 land-based casinos, though four of them are of the racino variety.

The Casino Club at The Greenbrier is the only traditional casino, though it has fewer gaming machines (248) than any of the racinos. The Casino Club has baccarat, blackjack, craps, roulette, 3-Card Poker, and poker tables (6). It also has a fully-operating sportsbook.

Does West Virginia Have Legal Betting Tracks/Shops?

Yes. West Virginia has two horse tracks and two dog tracks.

The horse tracks are the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races and the Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort in Chester. The dog tracks are Mardi Gras Casino & Resort in Cross Lanes and the Wheeling Island Racetrack and Gaming Center in Wheeling.

These days, all four racing venues attract far more casino gamblers than they do race bettors. All have hundreds, if not thousands, of video lottery terminals. Two of the racinos have gaming tables, while the other two have poker rooms. All four have simulcasting.

Does West Virginia Allow Off-Track Betting?

Yes. West Virginia has its share of off-track betting facilities.

Twelve Oaks at the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, which is owned by AmWest Entertainment, is a good example of a West Virginia OTB. The racinos have simulcasting, though, so most of the pari-mutuel wagering takes place at the racinos.

Does West Virginia Allow Charitable Gambling?

Yes. The West Virginia State Tax Department oversees licensing and regulation of West Virginia non-profit charitable organization’s gambling.

To receive a license as a charitable bingo opera, the organization must have been in existence for at least 2 years. The minimum age for charitable bingo gaming is 18.

The average total prize value limited to $10,000 for any single bingo event. Operators can apply for a “super bingo” license which allows bigger prizes, but these are rare. Raffles are legal in West Virginia, too.

Is Social Gaming Allowed in West Virginia?

Yes. Social games among friends are legal, so long as the host does not charge an entry fee or take a poker rake.

If you host a poker game among friends, don’t turn it into a business venture or you’re breaking the law and could be jailed for up to 2 years. As long as you play cards among friends, social gaming is legal.

West Virginia does not ban freeplay social casino sites. If you reside in West Virginia, you can play free casino-style games on Facebook and other social gaming sites. Players can enjoy free casino games on Zynga, Double Down Casino, Slotomania, and Big Fish Games. PlayMGM and Play4Fun — the social casino sites for MGM Resorts and Mohegan Sun — also accept players who sign up to play for free.

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