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Sports Betting at West Virginia's Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races to Begin Soon

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Published on:
Jul/29/2018

The Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races is scrambling to get its soon-to-open sports book ready in time for the upcoming football season.   Until now, West Virginians could only place bets on sports at a few dozen internationally licensed websites.

Now they will be able to do so right from the local casino.

“We believe it creates another experience here,” said Scott Saunders, general manager of the Hollywood Casino in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle. “We’re excited about what it means to us as a business.”

Brad McElhinny of the West Virginia Metro reports that tall slots machines are in the process of being relocated as the sports book will soon be under construction in what is said to be a high trafficked area.

“I believe we can make it,” Saunders said. “We have a great design and construction team in our corporate office. I believe in the timeline. We’re gonna be OK.”

Hollywood Casino is one of five in the state preparing for the upcoming football season after the state approved legalized sports wagering.  This comes on the heels of the US Supreme Court abolishing decades long prohibition as part of a landmark ruling that paved the way for all 50 states to allow the activity. 

“Quite frankly, this is not a big moneymaker for the facilities but there is more excitement and more calls on this issue than any issue I’ve been involved with — and that includes slot machines and table games,” said John Cavacini, president of the West Virginia Gaming and Racing Association.

For now it appears as if the state sports books will permit wagering on the West Virginia Mountaineers football team.  They are among the most successful and bet on College Football team in the country with odds of winning a championship this year set at 60/1. New Jersey, a state that already is taking advantage of the Supreme Court ruling with around a half dozen sports books open, prohibits wagering on its College Football teams, Rutgers and Seton Hall in particular.

Neighboring states, with the exception of Pennsylvania, will not be offering sports betting in time for the 2018 Football season.

“We’ve got Pennsylvania, Ohio and Maryland are three big contiguous states from a population standpoint that are not going to be involved with this,” Cavacini said. “We’re going to have the rest of this year and all of next year for this on our own before the competition hits.

While PA approved sports wagering, the tax imposed - 36% - is viewed as too stringent.  Likewise no operator has expressed interest in paying the $10 million licensing fee.

West Virginia's casinos are strategically located near neighboring states including Virginia. The distance between the Greenbrier Casino and Roanoke, Virginia, with its population of just under 100,000 is a mere 1 hour drive.

The Hollywood Casino hopes to attract sports bettors from Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

The Casino Club at The Greenbrier announced last month it would be using FanDuel as its sports book provider.  The Greenbrier Resort Sportsbook will also feature an online website and mobile application, powered by FanDuel.  That firm, recently acquired by Paddy Power in the United Kingdom, already runs the sports book in the Meadowlands, New Jersey just outside Manhattan.

“Delaware North anticipates being open for signing up accounts and signing up patrons early in September (but) they will not be taking live bets until late on in September,” Cavacini advised West Virginia Metro News.

- Don Shapiro, Gambling911.com

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