West Virginia doesn’t have any professional sports teams, but that didn’t stop it from being one of the first states to legalize sports betting when it had the opportunity. We’ll take you through the history of sports betting in Virginia on this page as well as talk you through your entire sportsbook journey.
How sports betting became legal in the U.S.
For decades, people in West Virginia and other states have been able to gamble on sports, both in-person and online. Between local bookies and the online sportsbooks hosted outside the country, there have been many options available to sports betting fans. The only state that legally allowed sports betting was Nevada, grandfathered in when the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was passed in 1992.
In 2013, New Jersey decided it had the right to regulate sports betting (along with online casinos and poker) at the state level, and passed a law that would bring sportsbooks to its casinos. The professional leagues in the U.S. and the NCAA sued the state, which started a legal battle that would make its way all the way to the highest court in the land – The U.S. Supreme Court. In May 2018, the Court ruled in favor of New Jersey. PASPA was repealed immediately, and the floodgates opened for state-regulated sports betting across the country.
West Virginia’s path to legal sports betting
West Virginia was one of a few states that anticipated the repeal of PASPA, and in March 2018, it pre-emptively passed a law that would make sports betting legal if there was a change at the federal level. With PASPA gone, that law went into effect.
However, it was far from the smoothest transition to online sports betting in the state. As part of the legislation, the 5 land-based gambling facilities were granted sports betting licensed both for retail and online. One company, Delaware North, owns two of the properties, and their betting app launched in December 2018. Their vendor then became embroiled in a battle over the ownership of their software platform, which caused the site to be shelved in March 2019.
While we await an update from the BetLucky app, two more online sports betting apps have launched in West Virginia. Draft Kings and FanDuel, two of the largest companies in the sports betting space, released their apps to residents of the state in late August 2019, just in time for football season. To date, those are the only two live sports betting sites available for play legally, with the others slated for release soon.
What gamblers can expect from online sportsbooks
Now that you know how sports betting became legal in West Virginia, and what hurdles the state has had to overcome in order to offer online bets to its residents, it’s time to take you through a step-by-step guide to how a sports betting experience works.
It all starts with selecting a site to play with. The options are limited in West Virginia for now, so it should be relatively simple to choose one for your play. If you already have a Daily Fantasy Sports account at Fandel or Draft Kings, you will automatically have been registered for a real money account. If not, it is very simple – just download the app, and you will be prompted to enter some information about yourself. Your IP address will be verified when you open the app, so if you aren’t in West Virginia when you try to register, you may encounter an error. After a couple pieces of info and a few clicks, you will have an account!
When researching which site to choose to bet with, you will want to check out the promotions being offered to new players. These offers can be very lucrative, as this is the most crucial period for a sportsbook to drive business. Here are three most common bonuses you will find:
- Free Bet – just for opening an account, you may be offered a free bet to place. However, there will be some rules around what you can bet on and what you can do with the winnings, but we never turn down a chance to win without paying.
- Deposit Bonus – This is the most common bonus, where the site matches your deposit to a certain limit. These funds can be used for gambling but must be played through a certain number of times before they are converted to real money in your account
- Cashback -this is a simple offer where you get money back if you lose a bet. Sometimes this can be limited to a certain event or sport, or it can be used across the site. It is like an insurance policy (here’s hoping you don’t need to use it).
Once you have selected the offer you want, you can make a deposit and take advantage of the bonus. Making a deposit at an online sportsbook in Virginia is easy – there are many payment methods available, including:
- Credit Cards
- Debit Cards
- Prepaid Cards
- Pay Near Me
- Wire Transfer
One thing to take into consideration is that as the industry continues to regulate across the country, some banks still won’t allow online gambling transactions on their credit or debit cards. One final option for bettors is to head to the land-based casino that is partnered with your site and making a deposit at the casino cage.
Selecting a bet type
Ok, you have an account, and it has money in it…. what do you do next? Well, the natural option is to look for something to bet on! Many new players (and some veteran gamblers) may not realize the sheer number of betting options, especially in an online sports betting site where physical size is not a constraint. Here is a very quick overview of the types of bets you can make.
- Money Line – Betting on who will win a game outright
- Point Spread – A handicapping system for betting on one particular game
- Totals – a bet on the total score of a game, regardless of who wins
- Parlay – A combination bet (Money Line or Point Spread) where you are paid a higher return for getting all selections correct
- Teaser – a football and basketball combination bet where you can pay to adjust the point spreads
- Props – bets on individual components of a game such as a particular player’s stats or the point total of one team.
- Futures – these are bets you make on a team to win a championship either at the beginning of a season or during the season itself
There are some more complex betting options as well, but you are likely going to be covered to start with the ones listed above. You can find our Guide to Bet Types with outlines each in more detail so you can be the most informed as possible before making your selections.
Betting during the game
In recent years, in-play betting (betting while the game is on) has become very popular. Sportsbooks realized there was interest in being able to bet on a team once they were up or down in a game, or for those who happened to miss the start of the game. Now, with the increased speed of data coming into a sportsbook, a lines maker can adjust the odds in real-time, meaning you have a chance to make bets all the way through a game.
Some sites have started to offer Early Cashouts to players who get a bit nervous about the outcome of the game. This is of benefit to the player, who can lock in their winnings, and also to the operator who doesn’t have to pay out the full winning bet.
As an example, you may have bet on an underdog that is going to pay you 5 to 1 on a victory. If your team is up ¾ of the way through the game, a site may offer you 2.5 to 1 to close your wager right then. That offer will increase as the game gets close to completion, but then there is added risk your team may end up losing.
Finally, when you have won your bet, withdrawing your money from a West Virginia online sportsbook is very easy. You can either call the casino directly and request a cash payout from the cage, or you can use one of the methods available in the app. The most common forms of payments are e-wallets (PayPal, Skrill, etc.) or an e-check directly into your bank account. There may be a small fee for withdrawing.