Mobile Sports Betting Lets West Virginia Avoid April Shutout

Mobile Sports Betting Lets West Virginia Avoid April Shutout
© USA Today

West Virginia took an expected drop in sports betting revenue in April with major leagues all shut down because of coronavirus concerns.

One sliver of hope, though, was in the fact that West Virginia is a few months into a renewed mobile sports betting market. So — with all casinos closed because of government mandates, as in all other commercial casinos in America — at least total revenues did not dip to $0 as they would have as recently as August 2019. The state took in nearly $3 million in sports bets, all via mobile, in a span covering all of April.

RELATED: All about West Virginia sports betting

West Virginia Brings in Nearly $3M in March

In all, West Virginia sportsbooks took in $2,965,302 for the period from March 29 to May 1. West Virginia reports its figures weekly so direct comparisons to states that report from the first day to the last day of each month are inexact. The week ending May 2 saw $1,063,604 in sports betting handle, double the amount in any of the previous four weeks, undoubtedly helped by NFL betting on that week’s draft.

WV Sports Betting Handle, April vs. March

ChangeDown 100%Down 70.9%Down 79.8%

The picture is far from rosy with all West Virginia casinos shut down and an online sports market still finding its feet after being shut down for several months in late 2018 and early 2019 because of a contract dispute.

West Virginia sports betting handle in April was down 79.8% from March, when it was $14.7 million — and even those March figures were well down from February’s peak of $39.6 million.

Sports Betting Progress Halted

The Mountaineer State had been making decent progress in its sports betting market until all major sports leagues and all casinos were halted after governmental orders stopped all group gatherings in the middle of March to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

The span from Feb. 2-8 was the first week in which West Virginia’s sports betting handle eclipsed $10 million, hitting $10,291,645 the week of the Super Bowl, according to figures on the state lottery site. That record only stood for a few weeks because the state took in $10,749,891 in the week ending Feb. 29.

And mobile sports betting was a huge and growing component of that momentum. Out of that record $10.7 million in the week ending Feb. 29, $7.7 million came via mobile. In February, $27.4 million was wagered online with West Virginia sportsbooks, 69% of the record $39.6 million total wagered that month.

In April, of course, with all casinos shuttered, all of the $2.9 million bet was online.

In addition to having sports betting, West Virginia is one of four states offering online poker sites, along with New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Nevada. West Virginia (as well as Michigan) has legalized gaming at online casinos and expects a launch some time this year.

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