West Virginia Online Gambling

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 State Gambling Laws

Laws That Pertain to West Virginia Gambling

Section 61-10-4: What Is Gambling?

“If any person bet or play at any such gaming table, bank or device as is mentioned in the first section of this article, or if, at any hotel or tavern, or other public place, or place of public resort, he play at any game except bowls, chess or backgammon, draughts or a licensed game, or bet on the sides of those who play at any game, whether the game be permitted or licensed or not, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.”

Betting on chess, backgammon, draughts, or licensed games is legal. Otherwise, betting on games is illegal in West Virginia. Luckily, those offenses are considered a misdemeanor, which would incur a fine but no jail time. Organizing illegal gambling is somewhat different, but as the next section shows, West Virginia is a great deal less punitive than many states in dealing with illegal operators.

Section 61-10-4: What Is Illegal Gambling?

“Any person who shall keep or exhibit a gaming table, commonly called A.B.C. or E.O. table, or faro bank, or keno table, or any slot machine, multiple coin console machine, multiple coin console slot machine or device in the nature of a slot machine, or any other gaming table or device of like kind, under any denomination, or which has no name, whether the game, table, bank, machine or device be played with cards, dice or otherwise, or shall be a partner, or concerned in interest, in keeping or exhibiting such table, bank, machine or gaming device of any character, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.”

West Virginia’s gambling laws include a long list of gaming equipment which is banned. Even possessing such equipment is considered illegal. At the same time, possession of gaming paraphernalia is considered a misdemeanor — not a felony.

Penalties for betting on an illegal table game or slot machine is a fine of $5 to $100. If you keep a gaming table or gaming machine and are caught, you’ll receive a fine between $100 and $1000 and face a 2 to 12-month jail term. If you run an illegal lottery, you’ll face the same punishments, but also forfeit the proceeds of the lottery betting to the State of West Virginia.

Section 61-10-3. Unlawful to act as doorkeeper, guard or watch for keeper of gaming table or device; penalty.

“If any person shall act as doorkeeper, guard or watch, or employ another person to act as such, for a keeper or exhibitor of any such gaming table, bank or device, or shall resist, or by any means or device, prevent, hinder or delay the lawful arrest of such keeper or exhibitor, or the seizure of the table, bank or device, or money exhibited or staked thereat, or shall unlawfully take the same from the person seizing it, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, shall be confined in jail not more than one year and be fined not exceeding one thousand dollars.”

People employed by an illegal gambling den can be prosecuted, with fines and prison time exactly one-half of the operators’ punishments. This is a harsh code for those who serve as doormen or security at such an establishment. The upshot: don’t take a job working for an illegal gambling ring.

Section 55-9-2. Recovery of money or property lost in gaming.

“If any person shall lose to another within twenty-four hours ten dollars or more, or property of that value, and shall pay or deliver the same, or any part thereof, such loser may recover back from the winner the money or property, or in lieu of the property the value thereof, so lost, by suit in court, or before a justice, according to the amount or value, brought within three months after such payment or delivery. The loser may so recover from the winner, notwithstanding the payment or delivery was to the winner’s endorsee, assignee, or transferee.”

“But nothing in this section shall be so construed as to permit a recovery of such property, or its value, from any person (or those claiming under him) other than the winner, when such person has paid value for such property without notice of illegal consideration under which the winner derived his claim of title.”

Those who lose money or property to an illegal gambling operation have the right to sue in a court of law for the return of their gambling losses. This law is designed to make it unprofitable to be an underground gambling operator, because your winnings are never safe. In practice, this would be a complicated and time-consuming process.

Gambling is legal in the State of West Virginia, at least most forms of land-based gambling. Online gambling in all forms is illegal. Charitable gaming on bingo and raffles is legal. A handful of brick-and-mortar casinos exist, though most of those began as dog tracks or horse tracks. The West Virginia Lottery is a key part of the gaming industry, with a variety of weekly drawings and scratch cards as well as Powerball and Mega Millions tickets.

The West Virginia Lottery also oversees the newly-created sports betting industry. Lottery gaming has proven popular and reputable, no doubt because its proponents were able to tie the lottery industry to West Virginia’s education system. Sports betting was sold as a way to fund the state’s education system, so lawmakers codified legal sportsbooks in 2018.

West Virginia Gambling Laws

Type of Gambling – Offered/Licensed? – Notes & Restrictions
  • Online Gambling – No – Online poker and casinos are banned.
  • Land-Based Casinos – Yes – 1 casino and 4 racinos.
  • Charitable Gaming – Yes – Mostly limited to prize pools of $10,000.
  • Lottery Betting – Yes – State Lottery (1984), Powerball (1988), Mega Millions (2010).
  • Minimum Gambling Age – 18 for bingo, pari-mutuel, and lotteries. 21 for casinos.

Is Online Poker Legal in West Virginia?

West Virginia Online Poker Laws

No. Online poker is not legal in West Virginia. The state legislature has never debated legalization of online poker or online casinos. Given the large number of small businesses in the state which have video lottery terminal (VLT) gaming, lawmakers do not want to legalize a form of gambling that might undermine the local business owners. Already the tavern owners of West Virginia complain that too much of their gaming machine revenues go to the state treasury or the third-party gaming machine companies which own the VLTs.

West Virginia’s online poker laws could change in the coming years if too many nearby states change their laws. Maryland and Ohio each have considered legalizing online poker and casinos, while Pennsylvania already has legal online gambling. If the revenue stream proves lucrative and iGaming does not create high-profile stories involving problem gambling, then West Virginia might follow suit. Online gamblers should not get their hopes up, though, because the state legislature has shown no indication it wants online poker.

Is Sports Betting / Daily Fantasy Sports Legal in West Virginia?

Yes. Senate Bill 415, also known as the West Virginia Lottery Sports Wagering Act, made sports betting legal in the Mountaineer State. State Senators Ferns, Weld, Takubo, Woelfel, Blair, Maroney, Trump, and Stollings co-sponsored SB415.

Currently, West Virginia has sports betting at the Casino Club at The Greenbriar in White Sulphur Springs. The West Virginia legislature passed a sports betting bill in August 2018, so eventually each of the main casino operations is likely to have a sportsbook. For the time being, single-game sports bets are legal in West Virginia and available at the Casino Club.

The passage of the West Virginia sports betting bill had its pivotal moments. The state’s lawmakers originally coordinated a great deal with lobbyists for the sports leagues (NFL, MLB), so they seemed keen on passing a law with a 1% to 2% integrity fee. States which passed sports betting laws before West Virginia (Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi) did not include integrity fees, so West Virginia lawmakers decided to avoid an onerous commitment its gaming operators did not like.

The sports commissioners voiced their disapproval when West Virginia passed SB415 without integrity fees. If the sports leagues want integrity fees, they’ll have to appeal to the U.S. Congress.

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.

For a rundown of the four racinos in West Virginia, skip down to the next section.

CASINOS

City Name Of Casino Address Phone Number Details
White Sulphur Springs The Casino Club at The Greenbrier 101 West Main Street, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia 24986-5063 (304) 536-1110 248 Gaming Machines, 6 Poker Tables, 34 Gaming Tables

Does West Virginia have any 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.

HORSE TRACK RACINOS

City Name Of Casino Address Phone Number Details
Charles Town Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races 750 Hollywood Drive, Charles Town, West Virginia 25414-1188 (304) 725-7001 2,473 Gaming Machines, 26 Poker Tables, 90 Gaming Tables, Race Book
Chester Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort Route 2 South, Chester, West Virginia 26034 (304) 387-8300 1,459 Gaming Machines, 10 Poker Tables, 26 Gaming Tables, Race Book

DOG TRACK RACINOS

City Name Of Casino Address Phone Number Details
Cross Lanes Mardi Gras Casino & Resort 1 Greyhound Drive, Cross Lanes, West Virginia 25313-1474 (304) 776-1000 857 Gaming Machines, 24 Poker Tables, 31 Gaming Tables, Race Book
Wheeling Wheeling Island Racetrack and Gaming Center 1 South Stone Street, Wheeling, West Virginia 26003-2099 (304) 232-5050 1,237 Gaming Machines, 9 Poker Tables, 22 Gaming Tables, Race Book

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 operator, 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.

BINGO HALLS

City Name Of Casino Address Phone Number Details
Clarksburg Big Bucks Bingo 1489 Milford Street, Clarksburg, West Virginia 26301-5857 (304) 623-4270 300 Bingo Seats
Huntington Redmen Bingo 1759 Adams Avenue, Huntington, West Virginia 25704-1516 (304) 429-1700 1,000 Bingo Seats

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.