West Virginia was one of the first states to legalize sports betting in the United States, but this market hasn’t seen much growth in recent years. West Virginia legalized sports betting before the decision from the U.S. Supreme Court, but there hasn’t been a ton of growth since 2018.
Lawmakers in the state have introduced a bill that would expand sports betting in West Virginia, and the recent proposal would allow online-only operators to enter the market. Senator Mike Maroney is the bill’s sponsor, and he is looking to increase the revenue generated from sports betting.
Senate Bill 603 passed the Senate Committee, and the bill will now be put in front of the entire West Virginia Senate. This bill has seemed to gain support in recent years, but it is unclear how many voters will approve the measure.
Early indications reveal that SB 603 will fail in front of the entire Senate, but it does start the conversation in the state. West Virginia needs to expand sports betting to bring in another revenue source for the state.
Local Companies Want Some Opportunities
With the growth of sports betting in West Virginia exploding in recent months, local companies hope to offer sports betting. Small businesses in the state have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and sports betting could provide some relief.
The new bill would help small businesses in the state initially, but it’s unclear if these companies could ever become a real threat in the sports betting industry. Small companies have not done well in the U.S. sports betting industry, but West Virginia provides a great opportunity.
Opponents Hope For No New Options
The current top sports betting markets in West Virginia have made it clear that they are opposed to any legislation that allows for retail sports betting in more markets. Local companies believe that handing out new licenses will saturate the market,
There are less than two million residents in the Mountaineer State, and online sportsbooks are unwilling to compromise their current customer base. There will likely be plenty of changes to the West Virginia sports betting industry, but it’s unclear if new operators will be approved for a license.
Virginia Now Providing Competition
West Virginia has not emerged as one of the top sports betting markets in the United States, and now the odds are stacked against the state. Virginia recently launched online sports betting in January, and that state will provide plenty of competition in West Virginia.
Virginia is an online-only sports betting market at this time, but retail options are expected to be available by the end of 2021. Five cities in the state have agreed to build a new casino property, and those locations will also be authorized to offer retail sports betting.
West Virginiana is an established sports betting market, but the Mountaineer State will struggle to grow due to the recent expansion of sports betting laws in Virginia. With sports betting now legalized, Virginians likely won’t have to cross the state line to gamble in West Virginia.