DraftKings, best known as one of the market leaders in daily fantasy sports and its growing sports betting vertical, launched its online casino in West Virginia on Wednesday afternoon. It is the first such product in the Mountain State, making West Virginia just the fourth state to have an online casino industry, behind New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.
DraftKings released the online casino suite in conjunction with Hollywood Casino at Charlestown Races. Games are accessible via both a standalone app and in the DraftKings’ sports betting app. The company has the same setup in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
According to a short press release, games include blackjack, roulette, three card poker, and keno. Slots are supposedly available, as well, but reports from people who can access the app within state borders is that slots have not gone live yet.
Ups and downs
West Virginia legalize online gambling more than a year ago when Governor Jim Justice took no action on a bill passed by the legislation, resulting in it automatically becoming law.
Only the five casinos in the state are eligible for online gambling licenses: Hollywood Casino, Mardi Gras Casino and Resort, Mountaineer Casino and Racetrack, The Casino Club at The Greenbrier, and Wheeling Island Hotel. DraftKings partnered with Hollywood Casino in order to gain entry to the market. The casino benefits from the name brand of DraftKings and the use of its software platform.
West Virginia has had a bit of a rocky road with gambling expansion in the past year. Last March, not long after sports betting launched in the state, casino operator Delaware North shut down the sportsbooks at its two casinos, Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island.
The decision stemmed from an issue with Miomni, the company that supplied the sports betting platform for Delaware North, which apparently had a dispute with one of its vendors.
Delaware North sued Miomni, saying “that Miomni Gaming and its chief executive officer fraudulently misrepresented its ownership of a key part of the BetLucky sports-wagering platform and breached the companies’ joint-venture contract.”
Still waiting for poker
DraftKings and Hollywood Casino are in a strong position now, as not only are they the only player in the West Virginia game at the moment, they may be for some time. Barring a surprise, Flutter Entertainment is the only other company right now that could get into the West Virginia market. It would likely be with its FanDuel brand, as it already has a partnership with The Greenbrier operating its sportsbook app.
So West Virginia has online casino gaming now, but what about poker? Online poker is also legal in the state, but don’t count on it any time soon. While we all love poker, it simply is not a big money maker. There is a reason why PokerStars has branched out and is quickly expanding its casino and sports betting operations. With online casino and sports betting, West Virginia may very well be giving its residents the gambling they want and won’t be in a hurry to try to figure out poker.