Summary: Sports betting is in its infancy in the US, but states are continuing to thrive as more become involved in the new industry.
Since May, sports betting has become a booming industry in the United States. Once the US Supreme Court decided to strike down the Professional & Amateur Sports Protection Act, states began to work quickly to create regulations to get started with sports betting or crafted legislation to get the ball rolling to enter the industry. In the beginning, it was Delaware and New Jersey offering services, then followed by Mississippi and West Virginia. Reports have been revealed in West Virginia showing that the state is already doing quite well in seeing revenues from the new industry coming in at over $1 million. Close to $3.4 million in total wagers were placed during the first three weeks of operations in the state.
West Virginia Thus Far
Sports betting in the state thus far as fared very well. The West Virginia Lottery Commission recently published the figures, so the public can see just how the new industry is evolving. During the first full week of operations, the state earned just over $457,000 which ran from September 1stto the 7th. During the next week of wagering, from September 8thuntil the 14th, a total of $1,104,008 was wagered. The final week of totals, September 15thuntil the 21st, saw even more wagered, at $1.8 million.
The majority of the wagers were placed by patrons of Hollywood Casino as they were fully operational early on. The casino opened a William Hill operated sports book at the end of August, able to offer sports betting without any competition for some time.
By mid-September, The Greenbrier opened a FanDuel Sportsbook. The revenue from this venue was counted as well, but only eight days of data were available. The state should see even more revenues in the coming weeks/months as more operators begin offering services and one online betting starts, via desktops and mobile devices.
WV Gaming & Racing Association President John Cavacini stated that the early numbers are promising and they were consistent with what operators were expecting. From sports betting thus far, the state has been able to collect more than $100,000 in taxes.
While the revenues and wagering numbers are strong in West Virginia casinos, the state still has a few problems in West Virginia. Regulators are currently working to finish up temporary regulations dealing with permanent legislative rules. Right after the Hollywood started offering services, Alan Larrick, regulating director, stepped down from his position. The new director if John Myers and he is now working to finish up the regulation needs.
Another part of the issue is the integrity fees wanted by professional sports leagues. Leagues like the NFL and MLB have asked for such fees in an effort to be able to earn revenues from sports betting. West Virginia was against integrity fees from the very beginning, but now Governor Jim Justice seems to be pushing for the gaming option to add in the fees.
Lawmakers believe that the Governor is catering to private interests instead of what is needed by the state. It will be interesting to watch the state as the year continues, seeing just how much sports betting evolves, and how much is earned by way of revenues and wagers. Only time will tell if the state will continue to succeed with what they are offering to the public by way of this new industry.