No Betting on UFC 229 at Wheeling Island or Mardi Gras Casinos

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The highly anticipated sportsbook openings at West Virginia's Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras casinos will have to wait until after what is expected to be this year's most wagered on sporting event, UFC 229: Khabib vs. McGregor.  Betting on this fight is available via a few dozen international websites nonetheless.

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Delay, Delay, Delay

Lottery spokesman Randy Burnside advised late last week of the delays.  Both books were expected to have opened the end of September.

In a statement Thursday, he said the parent company of both casinos, Delaware North, had advised the Lottery it would be delaying the launch of sportsbooks at its Wheeling and Nitro locations, but did not specify reasons for the delay.

“Delaware North has pushed back their timeline for opening the sportsbooks at both Wheeling and Mardi Gras,” Burnside said. “The Lottery is waiting to hear back from them to schedule testing at some point in October.”

The West Virginia Gazette has some speculation as to what might be going on here.

Gaming industry officials have expressed concern that the Justice administration might attempt to amend legislative rules governing sports betting — which have to be filed with the secretary of state before Oct. 7 — to mandate that the state’s casinos share sports betting profits with professional sports leagues.

Earlier this month, West Virginia Gaming and Racing Association President John Cavacini said the sports leagues are trying to use the rule-making process to force policies that the Legislature rejected in the regular session.

“It would be very hard for the tracks to go back and start all over with a new set of rules and regulations,” he said, adding, “We object to them bringing the same old stuff they lost on in January, February and March, and trying to get them through the backdoor through amending rules and regulations.”

Big Business for Out-of-Staters

For Wheeling Island it's all about the Pittsburgh and Eastern Ohio market.

"The inquiries have been substantial to the Gambling911.com website from this region," revealed Gambling911's Payton O'Brien.

For Mardi Gras, the entire Maryland and DC market will miss out on enjoying the Vegas sportsbook experience with UFC 229.

Of course there are countless of folks throughout West Virginia who will miss out on betting this event in person as well. 

Dave Mason of BetOnline confirmed to Gambling911.com Tuesday afternoon that the betting action on Khabib vs. McGregor has been significant days before the big fight.  They expect record betting online for UFC 229 when all is said and done.

- Aaron Goldstein, Gambling911.com

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