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West Virginia was the first state to legalize sports betting in 2018. West Virginia was poised to spearhead sports betting across the US and blaze the trail for every other state follow in their wake, however New Jersey beat them to the punch by offering online sports betting in August 2018, whereas WV is yet ot launnch their fist online betting site.
When West Virginia Sports Betting officially started on the first of September, players had a choice of two WV sportsbooks - Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races and FanDuel Sportsbook at The Greenbrier. So if you were a WV resident of and had a hunch, a hot tip or maybe just wanted to try your luck one with one of the big games, you would have to get into your car and drive to the brick and mortar sportsbook where you would stand and in line and place your wager through the teller. It is almost shocking to discover that there are currently no online sports betting options in West Virginia.
But despite the delay that occurred when the emergency rules were put in place over the controversy surrounding Governor Jim Justice’s final push to introduce the “integrity fee,” not having mobile or even online sports betting, platforms which have quickly become a staple in the sports betting friendly states where they usually account for at least 50% of the revenue sports betting brings in. WV sports betting took off with only land-based sportsbooks, bringing in over $3 million in wagers per month.
As a whole, West Virginia has 5 casinos within its state borders. While officials from the West Virginia lottery expect all 5 casinos to host a physical sportsbook by year-end, we mentioned that only 2 are operational. But here we will take a closer at the potential third entrant into WV sports betting – Mardis Gras Casino & Resort.
As every person who claims to know the real estate game will tell you, it’s all about location, location, location. And when it comes to casinos and physical sportsbooks, this old chestnut is just as relevant. And even more so in a state that is currently without an online or mobile sportsbook.
Owned by Delaware North, who also owns Wheeling Island Casino and should be the next entrant the sports betting world of West Virginia, Mardi Gras Casino is regarded as being the conveniently located casino and sportsbook in the state. Set just outside Charleston, the WV state capital is ideally located around only 12 miles from the city’s CBD. While the location is more of an issue to out-of-state players, we can’t deny that is has a great location.
In its first iteration, the Mardis Gras Casino and Hotel served as the Tri-State Race Track, a venue for greyhound racing. Today Mardis Gras still offers action out on the racetrack, an upmarket hotel, a full menu of casino games and the latest addition – sportsbetting.
The décor, as its name would suggest, is based on a New Orleans theme. Imagine Bourbon Street back in its prime and you will get the vibe with players getting beads and showgirls patrolling the casino floor.
For those looking for something a bit more laidback that the fever pitch that can found during a live game in the sportsbook area or the electric buzz of the casino floor can relax the in lounge area that features live acts every weekend. The hotel area contains 150 rooms and guests and visitors have a choice of 4 restaurants.
The Mardi Gras Sportsbook was first meant to launch at the end September but just days before big event, Delaware North informed the WV lottery that things had been put on hold. Looking back in hindsight, this obviously had everything to do with the Gov. Justice’s “integrity fee”, which would have required all West Virginia Sportsbooks to pay the professional sports team that they would take bets on paid a commission of sorts.
As we ‘ve already mentioned, there are no mobile or online platforms for sports betting in West Virginia. And Mardis Gras is no different. However, while the West Virginia lottery has not set an official date for off-site sportsbooks to go live. But it is just a matter of time before these platforms go live since holders of a WV sports betting license permits both on and offsite sportsbooks.
Even more encouraging is the fact owners Delaware North have an exclusive partnership that covers several states with Miomni Gaming, a respected turnkey retail and mobile sports wagering services.
With around 1000 slots in total, with a quarter of them being unique, those betters who are either looking to pass the time between live sports games or are just not into sports betting are sure to find a few slots that they will enjoy.
The lots are spread across the floor and can even be found lining the fringes of the racetrack. Punters looking to turn a few cents into a major jackpot should definitely try their luck at the numerous progressive jackpot games.
Some of the most popular slots at Mardis Gras include:
For those who prefer their gambling to be more skill-based, there are 30 tables hosting 8 different games:
Over in the Big Easy Poker Room, poker fans can compete in both limit and no-limit games of poker. The room also holds tournametns 6 days a week. Entry into these events is usually arouynd $80. Once a month it also hosts the bigger a “marquee tournament”. Buy-in for this event will cost you $275, but with it being a rebuy tournament it has the potntial for a life-changing jacckpot.
Watch this space for a detailed reviews of West Virginia’s on-site and offsite sportsnooks in the near future.