Legal WV Sports Betting: West Virginia Sports Betting Laws, WV Sportsbooks, WV Sports Betting Sites and More.
SportsHandle.com is your place for everything you need and want to know about legal West Virginia sports betting. In March, West Virginia passed a law to make sports betting legal (Senate Bill 415). As of June 18, 2018, the state had not announced plans to begin taking sports bets. West Virginia has multiple venues already in place that could handle legal WV sports betting, including commercial casinos and racetracks. Below is a primer not just on legal West Virginia sports betting, but also on the state of the Supreme Court case and how we got here.
Casinos and Racetracks for Legal WV Sports Betting.
West Virginia’s commercial casinos are located on the outskirts of the state. All of them are a relatively short drive either from neighboring Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland or Pennsylvania. Three are owned and operated by national gaming/casino companies (Delaware North, Hollywood Casino and Eldorado Resorts), all which own properties in other states.
What’s Going on in West Virginia?
In early March, West Virginia became the first state to legalize sports betting during the 2018 legislative term. Pennsylvania legalized it in 2017. West Virginia passed bills in both the Senate and the House within two weeks of each other. The West Virginia Lottery Sports Wagering Act gives the state lottery regulatory and licensure responsibilities. The state will allow existing casino and racetrack licensees — there are five of them — to apply for licenses along with a $100,000 application fee, requiring renewal every five years at the same rate. The state will levy a 10 percent tax on operators’ gross sports wagering revenue.
The new law does not include the “integrity fee” the pro leagues have been pushing for, although Governor Jim Justice walked back on that and forced a summit, creating a bit of a fiasco. Justice suggested that the state welcomes a “partnership” with the pro sports leagues and that he would consider calling a special session of the legislature to amend the law. (As of June 18, 2018, he had not.)
As far as online betting, the new West Virginia law will allow for online sports wagering. As in every other state, patrons will have to be located in West Virginia to participate in mobile or online betting. Forthcoming regulations are expected to permit patrons from registering for sports wagering accounts remotely.
Where You Can Bet on Sports in West Virginia.
Note: This will be updated with links to sportsbooks and mobile apps, once available.
300 W. Main Street, White Sulphur Springs, WV
750 Hollywood Drive, Charles Town, WV
1 Greyhound Drive, Cross Lanes, WV
1420 mountaineer Circle, New Cumberland, WV
1 S Stone Street, Wheeling, WV
United States Supreme Court Overturns PASPA: What That Means for Legal Sports Betting.
On May 14, 2018, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the state of New Jersey in Murphy vs. NCAA, overturning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), the 1992 federal law that prohibited full-fledged sports betting in every state except Nevada.
In essence, that means sports wagering is now a states’ rights issue. Every to state is free to choose if it wants sports betting and, if so, how to regulate it and tax it.
Since May 14, legal Delaware sports betting began at its three commercial casinos on June 5, and the state of New Jersey accepted its first sports bet at Monmouth Park on June 14.
States across the nation are considering passing sports betting legislation and those that already have it, including West Virginia and Pennsylvania, are creating infrastructure in order to be able to open for business.
The road to the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) took about seven years in a lengthy legal battle between New Jersey and the NCAA alongside the major professional sports leagues, who used PASPA to block the state from offering sports betting. The high court heard oral argument in the case in December 2017 and ruled in May, with Justice Samuel Alito authoring the majority opinion.
In an opinion joined by all of the justices except Justice Ginsburg and Justice Sotomayor, Alito stated:
The legalization of sports gambling requires an important policy choice, but the choice is not ours to make.
Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, each State is free to act on its own. Our job is to interpret the law Congress has enacted and decide whether it is consistent with the Constitution. PASPA is not. PASPA ‘regulate[s] state governments’ regulation’ of their citizens, New York, 505 U. S., at 166. The Constitution gives Congress no such power. The judgment of the Third Circuit is reversed.”
New Jersey built its case on constitutional grounds — arguing that the law “commandeered” states to uphold its anti-gambling laws, or maintain them, or prevent states from repealing them — in violation of principles of state sovereignty. And it worked. Congress had overstepped its bounds. Congress could have outright banned sports wagering, and still could, but that’s not what PASPA did.
The case, originally titled Christie v NCAA (it changed with the new governor), was heard by the Supreme Court after making its way through the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals, before SCOTUS granted New Jersey’s petition for a day in the high court.
What Was the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act?
The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, known as PASPA, is the 1992 law that prohibits sports betting in every state except Nevada. Ironically, New Jersey senator Bill Bradley, a former New York Knick, was a driving force behind the bill. The key ideas behind the bill were to preserve the “integrity of the games,” to stop youths from betting on sports, and to prevent other states from legalizing sports betting.
At the time the law was passed, New Jersey was among the states that had one year to legalize sports betting, but the state failed to do so. Three states, Delaware, Montana and Oregon did take advantage of the one-year filing deadline to continue quasi-sports betting games. The law grants the U.S. attorney general and the leagues the power to go to the courts to block a state from legalizing sports betting, which is what the leagues have done with New Jersey.
For a full explanation of PASPA, click here.