Sports betting continues to expand in West Virginia as the state lottery has approved five companies for one-year licensing. Most of the new licensees are focusing on offering mobile sports betting apps.
The apps will be live once a case involving the reinterpretation of the 1961 Wire Act comes to an end.
Licensing Approval for Apps
In West Virginia, the Charles Town Casino, Mountaineer Racetrack and Resort Casino all offer sports betting within their physical locations. Bet Fair Interactive and Crown West Virginia Gaming were given approval for services this week. Approvals have been given for app operations, but services will not start yet.
Delaware North was already offering sports betting via an online site BetLucky, as well as at the Wheeling Island venue and the Mardi Gras Casino. The company was the only one in the state offering online services.
However, Delaware North is no longer offering sports betting due to an issue with its technology partner, Miomni Gaming. Delaware North was unaware that a third-party vendor, Entergaming, was involved with Miomni Gaming and in dispute. This resulted in Delaware North’s services being shut down in early March.
Wire Act Issues
The establishment of mobile apps in West Virginia has been impacted by the recent Wire Act changes. According to lottery director John Myers, more will be known about the Wire Act in the coming weeks, making operators more comfortable to offer online services.
A challenge within the US District Court to the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) opinion on the Wire Act is currently taking place. The change saw the DOJ interpret the Wire Act to apply to interstate transmission of all types of gambling. That decision is now being reviewed in court.
Operators in West Virginia are concerned about being in violation of the act, if the sports betting data they provide is routed through internet servers in other states. For now, the approved operators must wait until the decision is made in the court case before moving forward.
Myers said: “We’ve been working on the platform, how it’s set up, where its servers are located, making sure they are complying with the Wire Act. We’ve made a lot of progress there in the last few weeks. Hopefully it won’t be as long as it has.”
Delaware North Delayed
Mardi Gras Casino and Wheeling Island suffered a setback with their sports betting, because of a partner’s dispute. According to one of the VSO News articles, Delaware North has missed out on revenues because of the resulting shutdown.
And because the dispute between Miomni Gaming and Entergaming started in early March, Delaware North was unable to take advantage of March Madness. The NCAA basketball tournament is one of the most popular sports betting events of the year.
Myers stated that Delaware North is having to start over after the dispute took place with Miomni. The company has filed a lawsuit against the company and its CEO Michael Venner. The lawsuit states that Miomni and Venner did not make it known that they do not own the intellectual properties to operate the sports betting platform provided to Delaware North.