West Virginia legalized online sports betting in March 2018, just two months before the overturn of PASPA. One year later, in March 2019, the state formally legalized online casinos and poker rooms.
However, it’s taken roughly 16 months to get the first online operator up and running, as the state dragged its feet through the regulatory oversight and licensing processes.
But finally, on July 15, West Virginia’s first domestic online gambling product – the DraftKings Casino – launched.
This makes WV only the fourth US state to offer domestic online gambling for casino games and poker. The other three are Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
While the state certainly could have used online gambling revenues in the face of the coronavirus outbreak dating back to January, there is no feeling of “too little, too late” with the launch of the DraftKings Casino mobile app.
The product was a long time coming, and it should be a long time staying.
In fact, if COVID-19 has taught gaming regulators and legislators anything at all, it’s that online casino games and real money poker are a positive boon, regardless of the circumstances.
Per WV Lottery Director John Myers, other entrants in the marketplace should be emerging sooner rather than later:
“This is the culmination of a great deal of hard work and planning over the course of the last year, and we are looking forward to the licensing and approval of our other casinos and their affiliated providers when they are ready to do so.”
For its new online casino, DraftKings has doubled down on its partnership with the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races.
The relationship was already going strong with DraftKings’ sports betting product, and now patrons can play electronic slots, blackjack, roulette, three-card poker, and keno via the DraftKings Casino app.
The same games will also be available in the existing DraftKings Sportsbook app which came out last year.
Both apps are available now for download via the App Store and Google Play for iPhone and Android owners, and customers must be 21 or older to participate.
Of course, as is the case with all domestic online gambling and sports betting, only those customers physically within the states where such products are hosted can actually use them to wager. These limitations are due to longstanding US gambling laws.
In other words, while anyone can download DraftKings’ West Virginia online gambling apps, they have to be within WV borders in order to use them. This is called geofencing, and it’s an issue that all US-based gambling operators must contend with.
Put plainly, if you’re not physically inside West Virginia, you can’t gamble with DraftKings’ new casino app. Sorry, almost everyone!
Indeed, most US residents don’t have access to state-based online casino or poker games, even as online sports betting is now legal in roughly 20 states and is growing its national footprint seemingly by the month.
As stated above, domestic online casinos are limited to just four states, leaving other avid gamblers in the lurch when it comes to local Internet options for real money play.
Fortunately, there are several legitimate international gambling sites that are safe and legal for Americans to use regardless of where they reside in the country, and these each boast hundreds of games, putting them on par with the variety of titles that DraftKings offers.
And that’s actually a surprise. For a domestic online casino, the DraftKings app is extremely robust.
While other brands in the space often settle for just a few dozen different RNG – or random number generation – games (we’re looking at you, FanDuel!), the DraftKings Casino has 363 titles and counting, and that’s not including their live dealer options.
With nearly 20 live dealer blackjack, live dealer roulette, live dealer baccarat, and other live games available, the DraftKings Casino has effectively copied the options available at international betting sites – minus the tournament poker rooms, racebooks, Bitcoin support, and 18+ age limits, of course.
While we generally prefer legal offshore options due to the sheer magnitude of games and betting markets available, the DraftKings Casino app is a laudable and competent effort, and it should make West Virginia players extremely happy.