There are five West Virginia casinos. Four of those locations have both a casino and horseracing track, which makes them a “racino.” The fifth, The Greenbrier, is the only private casino in the United States.
Racing has existed in West Virginia since 1933. The first track to open was the Charles Town Races in Charles Town.
All four racinos began life solely as tracks. The last to open was the Mardi Gras Casino, which opened as the Tri-State Greyhound Park in 1985.
The West Virginia legislature authorized the introduction of slot machines to the five locations in 1994. Mountaineer Casino was the first of them to put machines inside its property.
Bars and restaurants in West Virginia are also allowed to place as many as five video lottery terminals, or VLTs, inside their establishments. The West Virginia Lottery oversees all gambling in the state.
Hollywood Casino Charles Town – DraftKings Sportsbook WV
Hollywood Casino Charles Town opened its doors as The Charles Town Races in 1933, the first in West Virginia. In keeping with that tradition, Hollywood Casino Charles Town became the first casino in West Virginia to offer sports betting. Its sportsbook soft-opened on Aug. 30, 2018, and had its grand opening two days later.
Since then, Hollywood’s sportsbook has been the clear market leader in West Virginia by a wide margin. Of course, its only competition until recently has been the exclusive Greenbrier.
Hollywood also offers online sports betting in West Virginia through its betting partner DraftKings Sportsbook. The WV online sportsbook accepted its first bet on Aug. 28, 2019.
However, the casino may be banking on its geographic advantage over most of West Virginia’s other casinos. It is the closest West Virginia property to Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
Hollywood Casino Charles Town, in addition to its sportsbook, features 2,500 slot machines and 75 table games.
The Casino Club at Greenbrier Resort – FanDuel Sportsbook WV and BetMGM Sportsbook WV
The Casino Club at Greenbrier Resort is the only private casino in the entire United States. The resort restricts access to the casino to its members and hotel guests only.
As such, the casino maintains high standards for dress and behavior. West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice owns the resort.
The Greenbrier began offering sports betting on Sep. 13, 2018. The casino is currently the only casino in WV to operate two online sportsbooks thanks to its partnerships with FanDuel and BetMGM.
It launched its first mobile sports betting app on Aug. 26, 2019. FanDuel Sportsbook WV is credited with bringing online sports betting back to West Virginia after a 5-month hiatus.
Then just prior to the 2020 Super Bowl, BetMGM opened its virtual betting windows propelling The Greenbrier’s online sports betting standing in the state.
In keeping with its theme of exclusivity, the retail sportsbook is one of the smallest to be in operation. It is more accurate to call the facility a lounge, with limited seating and a few televisions for patrons to use.
Wagering occurs at a single table manned by FanDuel personnel. A small odds board posts the various options for betting behind the staff.
The Casino Club at Greenbrier Resort offers 320 slot machines and 37 table games. It is located in White Sulphur Springs.
Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort – Mountaineer Sportsbook
Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort opened as a horseracing track called Waterford Downs. Waterford Downs had its opening day on May 19, 1951.
After Bill Blair bought the property in 1987, he renamed it Mountaineer Park. Two more purchases and name changes brought the casino to its current form.
Mountaineer introduced slot machines to its property in 1994. Table games followed and brought the casino to its current state.
Mountaineer surprised most observers when it became the third casino in West Virginia to offer sports betting. Until a month prior, when the property submitted its license request, Mountaineer had seemed to lag behind its four other in-state competitors.
Sports betting began at the New Cumberland property on Nov. 21, 2018. The casino operates its sportsbook with strategic partner William Hill.
Amazingly, according to statements from casino management, the sportsbook is not expected to be a revenue leader for the casino. The real value of offering sports betting, at least according to company brass, is in its marketing appeal and ability to get more traffic into the casino.
Mountaineer is also planning to release a mobile app at some point. However, its debut likely won’t occur until 2019.
Mardi Gras Casino & Resort – Mardi Gras Sportsbook
Mardi Gras Casino & Resort began as the Tri-State Greyhound Park in 1985. The property has undergone numerous ownership and name changes, settling on its current incarnation in 2008.
Mardi Gras, as its name implies, now operates with a New Orleans theme. The casino offers roughly 1,000 slots and 30 table games for patrons.
In March 2018, gaming company Delaware North purchased the property from Hartman & Tyner. Delaware North also owns Wheeling Island, as well as several casinos in other states.
Mardi Gras and its sister property launched its sports betting operations in Dec. 2018. The two WV casinos were the first to offer mobile sports betting via their BetLucky Sportsbook app.
Unfortunately, both retail sportsbooks and the mobile app were forced to shut down operations in March 2019 due to a contractual dispute between Delaware North and its sports betting provider, Miomni.
The two companies are headed to court as Delaware North seeks to sever its contract with Miomni and begin looking for a new sports betting partner. There is currently no timeline for the return of sports betting to Mardi Gras.
Mardi Gras Casino is also home to 250 slot machines, 30 table games, and a poker room. The property serves customers from its location in Nitro, West Virginia.
On Jan. 31, 2020, retail sports betting returned to Mardi Gras casino thanks to its partnership with IGT. betly-branded kiosks can be found on the property and it is expected an online sportsbook under the same name will launch soon.
Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack – Wheeling Island Sportsbook
Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack opened its doors in 1937 as a horseracing facility called Wheeling Downs. The track operated until a catastrophic fire closed the property in 1962.
The track reopened in the 1970s as a harness racing track. Declining attendance forced a switch to greyhound racing.
The casino added slot machines in 1994. Over the next 14 years, the property slowly added more options to its offerings. It eventually added table games in 2008, the same year that its name changed to the current version.
Wheeling Island is now a sister property with Mardi Gras Casino by virtue of the latter’s purchase by Delaware North. Both properties received their licenses to offer sports betting on Aug. 17.
Since then, the two properties have suffered an unfortunate delay on their sports betting debuts. The hesitation allowed Mountaineer to catch and surpass both Delaware North casinos in the race to own a sports wagering facility.
After a little over two months of accepting sports bets, Wheeling Island, along with Mardi Gras, are sitting on the sidelines while Delaware North seeks a new sports betting partner.
Wheeling Island Casino is, obviously, in Wheeling, West Virginia. The property features 1100 slot machines, a wide variety of table games, and a poker room for patrons in the area.
Wheeling Island welcomed the return of retail sports betting on the same day as Mardi Gras casino. And like its sister casino, it also has betly kiosks and a future mobile app because of Delaware North’s partnership with IGT.