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WV Mobile Sports Betting Handle Edges Retail

Penn National Hollywood Casino, WV

For the first time since sports betting was legalized in West Virginia, online handle has surpassed that of retail.

That’s according to the most recently released figures by the West Virginia Lottery, which oversees the gambling industry in the Mountaineer state and, unlike other states, issues weekly reports.

For the week ending Nov. 9, mobile betting brought in a record $4,260,572 in handle, while retail contributed $4,088,690 – a grand total of $8,349,262 to save you the math.

Online revenue also trumped that of retail and it wasn’t even close, with the state’s two (and only) online sportsbooks – DraftKings and FanDuel – holding onto $576,235.87, compared to retail’s hold of $348,870.

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DraftKings the bigger retail hitter

While online handle was split roughly 50-50 between those pair of industry giants, DraftKings were by far the biggest hitter in the retail stakes with $2,873,262 in handle, eclipsing FanDuel’s $367,638.

DraftKings’ retail sportsbook is located at Penn National’s Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, which provides the license.

Here, both handle and revenue were up more than 50% in the first two months of the football season compared to last year, and its proximity to Washington D.C. – downtown D.C. is about 60 miles away – clearly helps to draw in customers.

FanDuel’s retail sportsbook is located at The Casino Club at Greenbrier Resort, a members-only club, which helps explain the much reduced handle.

William Hill, who operate a retail sportsbook at the Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort, contributed $841,791 and $82,490 in handle and revenue respectively for the week in question.

That the mobile share isn’t greater and has only just caught up and passed retail is probably down to it’s troubled start (see below) and then a long wait until starting up again in early August, when DraftKings and FanDuel launched within hours of each other.

Casinos looking to add more sportsbooks

Given the state’s sports betting industry is busy once again, it’s no surprise to learn of moves to increase the number of options for West Virginia bettors.

Under state law, the three casinos currently offering sports betting facilities can partner with up to three sportsbook operators, or ‘skins’ as they are known in the industry.

With just one each currently, there’s plenty of room for more.

That’s not been lost on the Lottery Commission and its Director John Myers is considering a novel approach to increasing numbers, allowing casinos to add additional sportsbooks to their existing retail operations.

You can have DraftKings, William Hill and FanDuel all at one casino if they want to work together. he said at this week’s regular monthly meeting in Charleston.

Myers further explained how having more than sportsbook at each property would give casino customers a greater choice.

If you go on an app for FanDuel or an app for DraftKings or an app for William Hill you don’t see the same thing. Some people like certain things better so it gives them an opportunity, he said.

However, while his idea might appeal to the casinos themselves, it’s hard to imagine the likes of DraftKings and FanDuel agreeing to share the same retail space and revenues.

The online market is a different matter of course and some healthy competition seems inevitable before too long, especially given the state’s operator-friendly tax rate of just 10% on sports betting revenue.

William Hill is a prime candidate to launch an online offering soon, given their existing retail presence, while PointsBet have also announced plans to launch both retail and mobile operations. The door is wide open for more.

No news on Delaware North

Myers also confirmed he was still waiting on news from casino operator Delaware North over when it plans to resume sports betting operations at its two state casinos: Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras.

A legal dispute forced the closure of the BetLucky.com retail sportsbooks at both properties, along with the company’s app, in March of this year and just four months after launching.

In the meantime and until a competitor comes along, DraftKings and FanDuel will continue to go head-to-toe for the dominant share of the state’s online market, and bettors would be wise to have both apps in their pocket as we find it hard to split them.

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