When it came to launching sports betting in West Virginia, Delaware North, owners of two casino properties in the Mountaineer State took the slow and steady approach. Rather than launching their brick-and-mortar sportsbooks at Wheeling Island and the Mardi Gras casinos ahead of mobile, the decision was to wait and launch all three together.
About a week after launch with the first mobile app in the state alongside its two physical locations, company executives clearly believe they made the right decision.
“Our strategic approach to sports betting is mobile first,” Delaware North Vice President of Marketing, Gaming and Entertainment Luisa Woods told Sports Handle via e-mail this week. “As such, in West Virginia, we held back and launched mobile and retail simultaneously. We are focused on creating a true omnichannel gaming experience for our patrons. We want them to be able to easily transition from attending watch parties and betting at the property to placing wagers quickly and conveniently from anywhere in the state.”
Delaware North delayed due to mobile app
According to multiple media reports, Delaware North was prepared to launch its brick-and-mortar sites at the end of September, but opted to delay in favor of waiting for its mobile app. The sportsbooks are the last two of a total of five in West Virginia to launch. The Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, which launched Labor Day weekend, was the first.
West Virginia joins Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi and Rhode Island as the only four states outside of Nevada to have fully launched sports betting. Pennsylvania is still in the process of its roll out, and both Arkansas and the District of Columbia have legalized sports betting, but are months (at least) away from taking bets.
Though Woods didn’t share any early numbers — either in terms of handle or the number of mobile users who have registered — she did say that the company is seeing “strong participation” through both the retail and mobile avenues and that there has been “strong adoption” of the mobile app.
Delaware North partnered with Miomni Gaming to run its mobile sports betting platform and create BetLucky.com, which is run through Wheeling Island. The companies have made the app available to download for both the Android and the iPhone.
Once a customer has downloaded and registered for the app, (s)he can place a mobile sports bet from anywhere in West Virginia. Woods said that while the registration process required by the West Virginia Lottery, which regulates sports betting, is arduous, BetLucky was able to streamline the process though a “simplified ID scan registration process,” and once registered, patrons can log in via fingerprint authentication and an “intuitive betting interface.”
Registering and depositing funds simplified
During the registration process, bettors are required to scan and upload a valid U.S. driver’s license or other acceptable form of government identification. Once registered, funds can be deposited via the app using a debit or credit card through Play+, at a local convenience store or at a sportsbook teller (cash only).
The app allows bettors to see odds and bet types, which include in-play wagers. Everything from the NFL and college football to tennis are available to bet on. West Virginia does not prohibit sports betting any collegiate teams.
The only other states that currently has mobile sports betting available everywhere within its borders are Nevada and New Jersey. It is also legal in Pennsylvania but no sportsbook has yet gone live online in the Keystone state.
Delaware North has opened its two #WestVirginia casino sportsbooks and launched its https://t.co/Vc8x0UulVJ online and mobile app for statewide sports wagering: https://t.co/F0tq1acOAe @WheelingCasino @MardiGrasWV pic.twitter.com/F4qRstNnJZ
— Delaware North (@delawarenorth) December 27, 2018
At the brick-and-mortar locations, the Dec. 27 launches included ribbon cuttings and remarks, as well as a healthy dose of betting — the launches were one day before West Virginia played Syracuse in the Camping World Bowl. The sportsbooks at both locations are in the center of the gaming floors, complete with big-screen television, comfortable seating and easy access to food and beverage options. There are three teller windows in each book.
As with the mobile option, bettors can select from a vast menu of wagers, including in-game wagering, and can make straight bets, parlays or round robins. Woods said Delaware North will continue to offer additional betting options. There are bet limits, though they are unique to each sport and/or game.
“Our goal is to encourage and support both forms of play, recognizing that patrons enjoy both convenience gaming via mobile, and the entertainment of watching a big game along with a cheering crowd on the mega-screen at the sportsbook.”