The Past, Present, and Future of Gambling in West Virginia

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View of the city and freeway as the sun sets over Charlestown in West Virginia.
BetMGM Jan 20, 2023, 3:34 PM

More than half of the country has legalized gambling in some form since a landmark Supreme Court ruling in 2018. Still, West Virginia stands out from the pack because of its radical changes and liberal gambling policies. Since 2019, residents have been free to play online casino games and slots. Let’s start from the top and look at the history of gambling in West Virginia and how laws have changed over time. 

The current West Virginia gambling market

West Virginia is a gambling-friendly state. While the state only has five land-based casinos, it offers bettors various sports betting options, horse racing, a state lottery, fantasy betting, casino table games, and slot machines. The state has already launched its own online poker and casino sites. Local race tracks can also legally expand to offer casino-style games. 

The state is dedicated to improving the thriving gambling industry and providing players with more platforms to bet and play conveniently and safely. Today, Mountain State generates millions from sports betting and online games. This wasn’t always the case, though. Let’s look at the history of gambling in West Virginia and how the law has embraced betting. 

The history of gambling in West Virginia

West Virginia officials were careful about legalizing games and very selective about the games they legalized. Despite the slow pace of legalization in the state, a culture of gambling was always present. 

The first positive law change came in 1933 with a law that legalized horse race betting. The success and popularity of the sport encouraged officials to establish the first lottery under amended gambling laws in 1984. A referendum followed that allowed Video Lottery Terminals in 1994. Soon these terminals could be found in bars, restaurants, and gaming venues all over the state. Now that gambling was a central part of the West Virginia lifestyle, radical law changes followed that revolutionized gambling and gaming in the state. 

The legalization of online sports betting

With horse racing betting legal, the legalization of sports betting was a no-brainer. A major law change came in 2018 after a Supreme Court ruling. This new law allowed West Virginians to bet on any sport online. Sports gambling was first available from three land-based casinos in the state, but now sportsbooks like BetMGM have partnered with the state to bring their sport betting options to residents. With BetMGM, you can legally bet on basketball, soccer, baseball, tennis, football, MMA, and many more sports online. Betting online also allows residents to take advantage of the different online casino bonuses and offers. 

Is online gambling legal in West Virginia?

West Virginia became an online casino state almost by accident. After Governor Jim Justice, also a hotel owner, declined to sign the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act because of a conflict of interest, the bill automatically became law without the signature because the veto was left in the drawer. Strange as this loophole may seem, it did mean casino games like online slot machines have been legal in the state since March 2018.

In West Virginia online casino law, all online casinos must flow from the five land-based properties in the state. Thanks to a partnership with The Casino Club at Greenbrier Hotel, BetMGM can bring its extensive online catalog to West Virginians. Aside from the sportsbook, the BetMGM live dealer online casino offers table games like live dealer blackjack with real, friendly dealers. Residents also have access to thousands of slots and games from leading developers in the industry. 

There are 15 online casino sites to choose from in West Virginia. If you can’t play at a casino online, visit the following land-based betting venues. 

Casinos in West Virginia

Some of the most beautiful and luxurious casinos and racinos can be found in West Virginia. Here’s what they have to offer. 

The Casino Club at the Greenbrier: This classy vintage establishment is a 103,000-square-foot venue that offers world-class gaming, live entertainment, exquisite international cuisine, and boutique shopping. You’ll need to book a room at the Greenbrier Hotel to explore America’s only private casino. 

Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races: This casino is famous for two restaurants, the renowned Final Cut Steakhouse and the award-winning 9 Dragons restaurant. Beyond food, the venue has an impressive 2,000 slot machines, 75 table games, and live thoroughbred horse racing and betting. It’s the perfect setting for a luxury casino getaway. 

Mountaineer Casino: This venue is a four-in-one. It’s an entertainment emporium, a racetrack, a casino, and a resort. The venue hosts incredible shows and offers over 1,500 slot machines and table games like poker. Apart from the racetrack, Mountaineer offers guests spa facilities, scenic views of the West Virginia wild, and an 18-hole golf course. 

Mardi Gras Casino & Resort: Mardi Gras Casino Resort has something for everyone, casual and fine dining restaurants, an impressive sportsbook, a live music lounge, 150 hotel rooms, and resort entertainment. The gamers aren’t left out; the casino has 900 slots and 20 table games. 

Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack: This fun greyhound racino is located in the middle of the Ohio River. The establishment has over 1,400 popular slot games and 24 table games, and a luxurious 9-table poker room. Enjoy the live entertainment and shows, and book a room in one of the 151 beautifully decorated rooms. 

We don’t know what the future holds for casinos and gambling in the US. Could cryptocurrency become the leading casino payment method? Will online casinos ever replace land-based venues? One thing is certain, wherever the future takes us, West Virginia won’t be left behind. 

Enjoy the best casino games in West Virginia with BetMGM

There’s a reason BetMGM is the king of casinos. Our online catalog features thousands of the best online slots and a wide range of immersive live dealer games. That’s not all; we have the best sportsbook in the industry featuring all the most-watched sports events worldwide. Did we mention the exciting promotions, bonuses and perks? When you register with BetMGM, you’ll earn Regulars Rewards every time you play. Don’t settle for less; play with the best. 

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.