West Virginia legalized online poker in March 2019 when the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act (HB 3067) became law. After clearing the state House and Senate, Gov. Jim Justice neither signed the bill into law nor vetoed it, resulting in the bill passing to legalize gambling almost entirely. Poker was specifically included within its text.
However, online poker in West Virginia is still not live. The legalization of poker, and gambling as a whole followed in the footsteps of West Virginia legalizing sports betting a year earlier (in March 2018). In that instance, it took just a handful of months to pass before the first legal sportsbook launched in August 2018.
Where and When Can I Play Online Poker in West Virginia?
As of now, no timetable has been set in terms of a launch date for online poker in West Virginia. However, a few pieces are already in place for some well-known operators throughout the country.
Like in other states, West Virginia’s online poker laws require any future online operator to do so in partnership with a land-based casino. Five casinos exist within the state, and parent companies of both PokerStars and partypoker/BetMGM both have existing partnerships within the state for sports betting.
Interestingly enough, both parties have agreements with the same casino, The Greenbrier. PokerStars’ parent company Flutter Entertainment also owns FanDuel, whose name is attached to the retail sportsbook at The Greenbrier. Meanwhile, BetMGM’s mobile sportsbook is also tied to The Greenbrier.
When poker does go live in West Virginia, one of these two companies will have to find a different casino to partner with, but such hurdles should be no problem to overcome.
A list of potential West Virginia online poker rooms follows:
- PokerStars – The biggest name in online poker worldwide and already operational in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan
- Partypoker/BetMGM – Another top brand in online poker for over two decades, already operational in New Jersey and Michigan
- WSOP.com/888poker – Already operational in New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware with plans to go live in neighboring Pennsylvania in 2021
- GGpoker – A rapidly-growing worldwide brand that will be entering its first US-facing market in Pennsylvania sometime soon. More expansion is expected beyond, too
West Virginia Online Poker Laws
The West Virginia Lottery is the state’s gambling authority and is in charge of all regulatory oversight regarding online poker within the state. West Virginia has less than 2 million residents, rendering its market among the smallest nationwide.
As such, it would be most beneficial to follow in the footsteps of Delaware and join the Multi-State Internet Gaming Association with Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada to merge player pools and thus have access to a wider number of players, games, and so on. Nothing exists within West Virginia’s online poker laws from preventing that either, provided it is legal to do on a federal level.
Other laws surrounding West Virginia online poker include mandatory random seating at cash games and for players to have access to at a minimum, the most recent five hands they’ve played. These rules will help bum hunting and bot detection, the latter of which is strictly banned by state law.
Advantages to playing on Legal, Regulated Online Poker Sites
All legal online poker sites are required to undergo the same strict regulations as their brick-and-mortar casino counterparts. This ensures a safe and secure online poker experience for users in many ways, including:
- Verifying age and identity upon sign-up
- Safe and secure deposits and withdrawals
- Keeping player information safe and secure
- Keeping operational funds and player funds separate (segregated) from one another
- Fair gameplay
Another advantage to playing on legal sites is the opportunity to take part in series held in multiple states. Although shared player pools nationwide would certainly increase player pools, the “fenced-in” laws in states such as Pennsylvania enable operators to run tournament series in different states at different times. Those close to multiple other states like Pennsylvania and New Jersey can take advantage of this by traveling across the border to play in a state other than home.
Depositing and Withdrawing
In general, deposits and withdrawals on regulated poker sites are easy, safe, and secure. Players’ accounts must be verified before being approved for deposits and withdrawals. The following forms of deposits and withdrawals are commonly found across legal poker sites.
- Bank transfer/Electronic check/ACH
- Credit and debit cards
- E-wallets like PayPal and Skrill
- PayNearMe – a cash deposit option found at retail outlets such as 7-Eleven
Live Poker Rooms and Casinos in West Virginia
As mentioned earlier, West Virginia has five operational brick-and-mortar casinos, and all five have poker rooms. Keep reading for more information about each property.
The Casino Club at Greenbrier Resort: Better known as “The Greenbrier,” just a six-table poker room is found inside what is technically a private club. Only members and hotel guests are allowed on the property, and all casino games are still offered for patrons of the property.
Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races: Owned by Penn National with a William Hill-branded retail sportsbook. The poker room has 16 tables, while a full array of casino games and year-round horse racing is also offered.
Mountaineer Casino: Another racetrack that operates for six months out of the year on top of a full casino that includes a 14-table poker room. Like Hollywood Casino, Mountaineer also has an on-site William Hill retail sportsbook.
Mardi Gras Casino & Resort: Located in Cross Lanes, Mardi Gras is the closest casino to the capital city of Charleston. It also has the largest poker room, with 18 tables in addition to all casino games. Greyhound racing also takes place on site.
Wheeling Island: Operated by Delaware North, Wheeling Island is a sister casino to Mardi Gras. It is located on Wheeling Island in the border town of Wheeling, just across the Ohio river from the Buckeye state. Wheeling Island’s poker room has nine tables, and the venue also has a full offering of casino games and greyhound racing.