West Virginia is a small state with just about 24,000 square miles in area. In those 24,000 miles, there are around two million residents. A good hint to what West Virginia may look like is that the state is known by many as ‘The Mountain State.’ Another fun name for this state is the southernmost northern state and the northern most southern state.
West Virginia was the very first state to take on a tax program which was way back in 1921. The state is also home to the very first all-women’s prison which was established in 1926. West Virginia has held the record for the lowest crime rate in the nation for several years running.
West Virginia was one of the first states to have legal gambling, as in 1933 pari-mutuel wagering for horse racing was already possible at the Charles Town Races. It took another half century for the citizens of the state to be able to play the Lottery, as it was only approved by referendum in 1984.
In 1994 there was another referendum in West Virginia, this time to approve Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) at the existing state racetracks. This approval had a big meaning because the VLTs include slots, blackjack, keno and video poker.
2001 brought additional legislation to the VLTs, as the Limited Video Lottery Act made legal for those gambling machines to be available in restaurants and bars serving alcohol. In 2007 table games were also approved in racetracks, but also allowed that the five casinos in West Virginia made available table games.
Just recently, in 2018, the WV Sports Lottery Wagering Act was passed making sports betting legal in West Virginia. This overall favorable scenario in the state is stopped in what online gambling is concerned because there are no online casinos as these aren’t considered legal.
Types of Gambling in West Virginia
As already mentioned above, West Virginia is home to several different types of gambling. Players within this state have free reign to participate in every kind of gambling, considering they are 18 and over.
The state is one of few which offers players the ability to utilize all gaming possibilities. Pari-mutuel betting is the first kind of gambling here where players will have a hand full of different racetracks to check out. Players can make bets at the racetrack on their favorite racehorse.
The lottery is another fun favorite for players in more than 36 different states. The lottery here isn’t just the type of buy a ticket and wait type, players will have games like; Hot Lotto, Daily 3, Daily 4, Cash 25, Keno and many others.
Land based casinos are offered in about a handful of variations like Charles Town, Cross Lanes, Newell, White Sulfur Springs and Wheeling. Each of these casinos will offer a wide variety of different gaming styles with slots and table games.
The table games, approved by local referendums since 2007, include Poker, Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Pai Gow Poker, among other table games that are also legal in West Virginia.
West Virginia Lottery Commission
The West Virginia Lottery Commission is the governmental entity that regulates lotteries like Powerball, Mega Millions or scratch tickets, but is also the regulator of slots or any games under the Video Lottery Terminals category.
These VLTs, which feature in all the West Virginia casinos, are defined to return a minimum of 80% and a maximum of 95% of all the wagers involved, including slots, video poker, keno and blackjack.
The number of VLTs, the exact same machines used in the state casinos, in restaurants and bars that serve alcohol is also regulated by the commission, which has set this number for 5 VLTs, while at fraternal organizations that number rises to 10 VLTs.
Curiosity: The WV Sports Lottery Wagering Act that legalized sports betting was approved decision pending from the US Congress or Supreme Court to allow states to offer this sort of betting. This decision came on May 2018 and enabled the existence of sportsbooks in the existing casinos.
The first sports license for betting in the state was given to Penn National, which operates the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Raceway, and the bets started to be accepted on August 2018, while the second permit was given to FanDuel Sportsbook, which was already running a similar operation in New Jersey, at the Meadowlands, and now adds The Greenbrier in West Virginia to that one.