When it comes to the world of gambling, West Virginia is a thriving state with much to offer. West Virginia’s gambling laws allow for a plethora of gaming options in the gambling industry. From state lottery to horse and dog race betting to the grand casinos right to the thrilling sports betting. There are five brick-and-mortar casinos as well as online casinos that offer a wide range of gaming options.
This range of choices doesn’t only excite gamblers; it translates into a huge economic gain for the state. West Virginia has a thriving gaming industry that consistently averages an annual revenue that surpasses the billion-dollar mark.
So whether it is thundering hooves that have drawn you, the intense poker games or the rush of the craps tables, West Virginia promises unforgettable experiences. While in the state, you should also check out the best places to live as you get ready for the thrilling journey. But first, dive into West Virginia’s gambling laws, the legal age to place a bet in the state and what the laws stipulate with regard to gambling online.
Is Gambling Legal in West Virginia?
The answer to that is a resounding yes. The first legal gambling allowed in the state was pari-mutuel horse race betting back in 1933. Exactly 51 years later, the West Virginia Lottery entered the scene in 1984. Today, West Virginia lights up with a range of lottery games, including daily games and high-stakes jackpot drawing games.
In a groundbreaking move, West Virginia legalized sports betting to become the fifth state to do so in the country. In 2018, the state passed a law that green-lighted betting on a wide range of sports, both professional and collegiate. The development blended the thrill of traditional casinos with the excitement of sports betting for punters.
In addition to these, West Virginia is home to a collection of brick-and-mortar casinos that offer a variety of gaming options, from strategic and thrilling poker and roulette to the flashing lights of slot machines.
Online Gambling in West Virginia
As mentioned earlier, West Virginia is a gambling-friendly state. This extends to online betting, too. Quite frankly, the state legalized online casinos almost by accident. It happened that Governor Jim Justice, who’s also a hotel owner, refused to sign the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act due to a conflict of interest. Despite withholding his assent, the bill automatically became law, anyway, thanks to a loophole of the veto. This meant that casino games became legal in the state in March 2018.
This legislative work opened the door to the world of online gaming, including online slots, online poker, roulette and other online casino table games. Under the West Virginia online gambling laws, all online casinos are required to have roots in the five existing land-based casinos in the state. This has created a competitive atmosphere among the operators who must continually innovate to capture the attention of the gamblers.
As a result, top online casinos, including the one that BetMGM launched in the state, have curated an impressive array of titles, spanning popular table game variants and live dealer games. Many of them carry different offerings, including sports betting, fantasy sports, scratch cards and a host of other options.
The best West Virginia casino brands, like BetMGM, even offer mobile apps to their customers. In all, there are 15 online casino sites to choose from in West Virginia. So now that gambling in West Virginia is available at a casino online, you have the choice between online and land-based betting venues.
What’s the Gambling Age in West Virginia?
West Virginia gambling laws are intended to shield younger individuals from potential negative repercussions of gambling, so age limits have been put in place to guide toward that. Still, West Virginia’s gambling age varies with respect to the game you want to play.
If you are interested in lottery games, a round of bingo or have eyes on the racetracks, the magic number is 18 years. Once you’re 18 or above, you’re set to go.
However, if you wish to try sports betting, spin the reels of casino games or play strategic online poker games, you must be at least 21 years of age.
West Virginia Regulatory Bodies
Several bodies take responsibility for the intricate dance of regulating gambling activities in West Virginia, each contributing to the provision of a structured and safe framework for these activities.
West Virginia Lottery Commission
This is the commission responsible for regulating the state’s diverse lottery games, sports betting endeavors and video lottery activities. It was established under the West Virginia Lottery Act and oversees the licensing of these games, enforcing rules and regulations to ensure a level playing field for all.
Office of the Attorney General
The Office of the Attorney General assumes a vital role in oversight. It guides the interpretation and execution of gambling laws and regulations to ensure gambling houses and gamblers are following the rules to the letter.
West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration
While this institution doesn’t directly regulate gambling, it does supervise the sales and distribution of alcohol in casinos and other gambling establishments. Alcohol is popular for many who gamble at land-based casinos but requires firm controls to be implemented.
West Virginia Gambling Laws
Gambling in West Virginia is regulated by Chapter 29 of the West Virginia Code.
The Code provided for racetrack video lottery, limited video lottery and lottery racetrack table games in Articles 22A, 22B and 22C.
Horse and dog racing are under Article 23 of Chapter 19, while punishments and penalties for offenders, which range from fines of $5 to $1,000 and jail terms of 2–12 months for violations, are outlined in Article 10 of Chapter 61.
Pari-mutuel betting, horse and dog racing and video lottery games (excluding casino themes) are allowed by the Code. Charitable organizations may also sponsor raffles or bingo and any other game of chance, but animal fighting (typically cockfighting or dogfighting) is prohibited.
Abide by the Rules While Playing at BetMGM
Voluntary self-exclusion programs are offered by the state, even as responsible betting is encouraged. Many companies, including BetMGM, support responsible betting. This is another reason why BetMGM is one of the top-tier casinos. BetMGM’s virtual collection of games includes the best online slots and an expansive selection of live dealer games. Everything is ready to start your adventure into the world of online betting. Register to begin exploring.