Located in what is commonly known as the panhandle, a thin strip of land in the northern part of West Virginia, lays Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Racetrack. Owned by Delaware North, Wheeling Island is the sister operation to another player in WV sports betting – Mardis Gras.
Wheeling Island has opened a sports betting lounge on its property however it has not yet launched a sports betting app or website. We anticipate the app to launch in December 2018.
As its name would suggest, Wheeling Island is in fact an island. Set in the Ohio River, Wheeling Island was first established back in 1866 and has a storied history as one of the very first racetracks in the United States.
The horses ruled the track from 1866 until 1976 when it became the premier destination for greyhound racing. Today, fans of the hasty hounds can still enjoy dog racing every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday with up to a maximum of 20 races taking places each day. This division of the Wheeling Island is also home to an off-site betting parlor that operates 7-days a week and takes bets for both greyhound and horse racing.
In 1995 Wheeling Island once again emerged from a cocoon, this time it had transformed itself into a casino. In its earliest days as a casino Wheeling Island only catered to punters who preferred the one-armed bandits and video poker titles. By 2007 it had evolved along with most modern day casinos, ironically, to include the classic hallmarks of the traditional casino with the addition classic table games and poker.
Today Wheeling Island Casino and Hotel operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is home to a 151-room hotel, greyhound racing, casino with over 1000 slots, 20 different table games and 9 poker tables along with the its latest addition – the Wheeling Island Sportsbook.
West Virginia Sports Betting was officially meant to kick off 1 September 2018, just in time for the start of 2018/2019-football season, but thanks to delay caused by Governor Jim Justice and his final push for “integrity fees”, Wheeling Island were late to the game. But with the sportsbook at Hollywood Casino Charles Town bringing in an astonishing $640,000 in the first 4 days, Wheeling Island made sure they were still able to benefit from the excitement that came with the introduction sportsbetting to the state.
So, on the day sports betting could be enjoyed by the masses, Wheeling Island opened its doors to allow sports and betting fans into their brand new sports… bar. In rather shrewd move, once it became clear that the Wheeling Island Sportsbook would not be operational on Day One, they quickly set up sport bar, which looked just like a modern day sportsbook, just without the betting. Occupying the exact same space the sportsbook would occupy when up and running, the temporary sportsbook gave the public a very good idea of what to expect when it shifted from sports bar to sportsbook.
As things stand, sports betting fans West Virginia have only one alternative if they insist on play an online sportsbook – making use of sports betting operators in West Virginia with international licenses. But, thankfully, things are not set to stay this way. NJ Sports betting apps launched in August 2018. While in other states that permit this form of gambling, on-site and online sports books have to be applied for independently while in WV once an operator has been awarded a sports betting license, they are allowed to operate both a physical and digital sportsbook within the state.
What pretty much confirms that Wheeling Island will soon have a mobile sportsbook is the partnership parent company, Delaware North, has with online gaming solutions specialists Miomni Gaming. This partnership is also likely to serve as the key for sister Mardis Gras Casino. In a recent interview, officials over Wheeling Island told the world that they have teamed up with the online gaming experts to provide its customers with “everything they need to access the Wheeling Island mobile sportsbook right there on their phones.”
So this, together with the fact that mobile/online sportsbooks have been accounting for more than 50% of the total in other sports betting-friendly states, surely it will be sooner rather than later that fans will be able to bet on the big game without ever having to even leave their home.
If it were not for the fact that Wheeling Island opened in 1866, one might assume that the location of this establishment was chosen with sports betting in mind.
Set on an island that sits up against state borders of West Virginia and Ohio, Wheeling Island and its sportsbook could prove to be something like the sports betting capital of the area. A mere two hours from both Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania and Columbus in Ohio, Wheeling Island is the closest sportsbook and casino and should draw in plenty out-of-towners looking for a piece of that West Virginia sports betting action.
With the current performance of sports betting as a whole in the US, we are sure that Pennsylvania and Ohio will be hosting their own sportsbooks before too long. But until then West Virginia Sports Betting has a golden opportunity to take advantage of being the first to market in the area and should enjoy the influx of capital their sportsbooks will generate thanks to WV sports betting fans as well as those from both Pennsylvania and Ohio.
According to Regional President of Wheeling Island Casino and Hotel, Kim Florence, their new sportsbook is set to be a huge draw card that could serve as a constant stream of new revenue from outside of the state. She was also excited at just how great the sportsbook itself is. Set right in the middle of the gaming floor, the Wheeling Island Sportsbook will be hard to miss. She also expects it to be more than just a venue to place your wager and sees it as a space where sports fans can watch live sports games while placing wagers at the same time. Just by her excitement and enthusiasm, it is clear that this sportsbook can stand toe-to-toe with the even the established set ups of Las Vegas.
Unlike some pro-sports betting states, West Virginia sportsbooks will take wagers on college teams, including the state's popular Mountaineers.