Casinos And Race Tracks Likely To Offer Sports Betting
With PASPA overturned and the West Virginia sports betting law (HB 415) in place, the probable course of events re sports betting in the state going forward seems clear. West Virginia has exactly five current gambling locations, and HB 415 makes allowances for only five sports betting operator licenses. Thus, the casinos and race tracks likely to offer sports betting in WV include all of the above.
That said, it is important to point out that while WV is making room for five operator licenses, two of the five casinos and racetracks in the state are owned by the same company (Delaware North, which runs the Mardi Gras Casino and the Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack). This leaves one license left over, and there is speculation that the state could use this license for its own West Virginia Lottery, which could conceivably offer electronic sports betting kiosks at convenience stores and other locations throughout the state. Should this strategy be employed, West Virginia may set the national model for statewide sports betting accessibility.
Of the five West Virginia casinos and racetracks in operation, four of them are the latter variety. The only area casino that does not feature racing facilities is perhaps the state’s most famous historical property, The Greenbrier, which is a luxury hotel featuring over 700 rooms and a spread of some 11,000 acres.
The rest of the gambling destinations in the state, however, are more standard offerings: the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races; the Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort; the Mardi Gras Casino and Resort; and the Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack.
As the only gaming outlets in the state, these are the casinos and racetracks likely to offer sports betting to West Virginia residents right away.
Located along the mid-eastern border of West Virginia at 300 West Main Street in White Sulphur Springs, The Greenbrier is a state landmark. The sprawling, 11,000 acre property is home to a luxury hotel with 710 guest rooms, 11 bars, 9 restaurants, and a number of other historical outposts, including a Cold War nuclear bunker (codenamed “Project Greek Island”) that the US government secretly built underneath The Greenbrier’s West Virginia Wing during its construction between 1959 and 1962. Now decommissioned and declassified, “The Bunker” is one of The Greenbrier’s most popular attractions.
Built in 1913 by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, The Greenbrier went into bankruptcy in 2009. However, WV governor Jim Justice purchased the property, cleared its debt, and introduced “tasteful gambling” to the hotel. Indeed, it is the billionaire Justice’s ownership of The Greenbrier that caused him to forego signing the most recent West Virginia sports betting law, although he also declined to veto the bill. This made HB 415 one of those rare pieces of legislation that effectively “expired” its way into the law books.
Unfortunately, though The Greenbrier will almost certainly offer sports betting in the near-term future, it is unlikely to be the most popular destination for WV sports wagering. This is due to the fact that only registered guests of the hotel may gamble in its facilities, and the cheapest rooms start at $465 per night. This is also the reason that The Greenbrier, though profitable and growing, has much lower revenues than any other West Virginia casino or racetrack. You can call The Greenbrier for reservations and more information at 855-453-4858.
Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races
The Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races is located at 750 Hollywood Dr. in Charles Town, WV (25414), which is situated at the northeastern-most tip of the state. Originally built as a 6-furlong Thoroughbred racetrack in 1933, the course at the Hollywood Casino remains one of the most active racetracks in the nation, holding races on upwards of 250 days each year (typically Monday-Friday).
The racino portion of Hollywood Casino came about when slot machines and other video gambling devices were approved in the state in 1995, and table games were approved in 2007. Also on the property is a 150-room hotel called The Inn at Charles Town, which makes this historic racino an easy traveler’s destination as well as a local gathering spot to gamble. Sports betting will certainly be coming to the Hollywood Casino, and the company may even produce its own sports betting app. The Hollywood Casino is available 24/7 at 800-795-7001 for all of your booking and informational needs.
Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort
The Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack, and Resort – originally called Waterford Downs – was opened in 1951 as a Thoroughbred horse racing facility. However, it has the unique distinction of being the first racino in the US, as it was the first race track to introduce slot machines and other types of electronic gaming in 1995. The Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort has 3200 slot machines, a variety of casino table games (including blackjack, roulette, and poker), and hosts Thoroughbred races at least 200 days out of each and every year.
The Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort is located in the northernmost tip of West Virginia at 1420 Mountaineer Circle, New Cumberland, WV (26047). Residents should expect sports betting to be unveiled on-site sooner rather than later, and when it is, the racino should see an influx of tourism from surrounding states as well. You can call Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort any time at 800-804-0468.
Mardi Gras Casino And Resort
The Mardi Gras Casino and Resort, located at 1 Greyhound Drive in Nitro, WV, is situated in the mid-western part of the state, and – as its name suggests – the racino facilities have a “New Orleans” or “Mardi Gras” theme. The racetrack is limited to greyhound racing (West Virginia is one of only six states in the US that still offers greyhound gambling action), but simulcast horse racing is also available.
Like other area tracks, the Mardi Gras Casino and Resort expanded its business to offer slot machines in the 1990s and casino table games in 2007. The current owner of the Mardi Gras Casino and Resort is a holding company called Delaware North, which also owns West Virginia’s other dog track (Wheeling Island). While greyhound racing is likely to be snuffed out in the near future, the Mardi Gras Casino and Resort will more than make up any financial shortfalls thereof when sports betting is introduced on the property. You can reach the Mardi Gras Casino and Resort at 800-224-9683.
Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack
Originally called Wheeling Downs and located at 1 South Stone Street, Wheeling, WV (26003), the Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack was opened all the way back in 1866 on Wheeling Island in the Ohio River, when it was a dedicated horse racing track. However, over the years, the site stopped catering to horses, and it is now known as a greyhound racing facility (which has been offering greyhound races since 1976), as well as a fully-fledged casino and hotel.
Along with other racinos in West Virginia, Wheeling Island started offering slots and video gaming machines in 1995, and in 2007, casino table games were introduced. Wheeling Island also provides its guests with several bars, restaurants, concert venues, and even professional boxing contests, making it among the most comprehensive of all West Virginia casinos and racetracks likely to offer sports betting in the very near future. For more information or to plan a trip to Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack, you can call them at 304-232-5050.
The main driving factor of PASPA’s overturn and West Virginia’s rapid transition to housing some of America’s first casinos and race tracks likely to offer sports betting is monetary in nature. Yes, state’s rights are an important facet of the Supreme Court decision legalizing sports betting at the federal level, but core impetus is the sheer scale and scope of the economic windfall that this enormous industry can bring to the both the US and to its constituent states.
In West Virginia, the total economic impact of the state’s five casinos and racino facilities is right around $1.3 billion annually. With sports betting, that number will go up considerably, and the more WV residents who can be convinced to move their sports betting from legal offshore sportsbooks back into WV territory, the more money the state – and operators and employees in the gambling industry – stand to make.
It wouldn’t be at all surprising if the availability of sports betting across West Virginia – particularly if electronic wagering kiosks are installed in ubiquitous lottery locations – caused the gambling industry’s financials to skyrocket in the state, doubling or tripling the estimated economic impact that area casinos and racinos currently produce.