WV Online Poker Expected to Launch Later This Year, Says Lottery Director

Quick Intro

West Virginia, a key player among the six US states offering online casino gaming, is gearing up to introduce online poker to its residents. Having joined the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) in fall 2023 as the fifth state, West Virginia is set to enable its players to compete against those in Delaware, Michigan, Nevada, and New Jersey. However, the launch of an online poker platform within the state has been pending, awaiting operators to initiate the service.

A Strategic Move Towards Online Poker

John Myers, the Executive Director of the West Virginia Lottery, hinted in an interview with PlayWV that online poker enthusiasts might see the game go live later in the year. Despite legalizing online poker alongside online casinos in 2019, the state has yet to see operators step forward to offer this gaming activity. The anticipation grew when West Virginia joined MSIGA, expecting it would catalyze operators’ interest within a few months, but the timeline has extended beyond initial projections.

Anticipating Operator Engagement in 2024

The West Virginia Lottery oversees the state’s online gambling in collaboration with its five retail casinos. Initially, there were hopes for online poker to be operational by the first quarter of 2024. However, according to Myers, operators have had other priorities, delaying the poker platform’s launch. The process involves submitting a proposal, regulatory approval, and rigorous testing of the poker software, which Myers now believes could culminate in a launch by the end of 2024.

The Potential Impact of Online Poker in West Virginia

Despite its modest population of 1.7 million, West Virginia boasts a vibrant gambling scene, offering a plethora of betting options. With nine online casinos and eight legal online sportsbooks, along with daily fantasy sports, the state is a hub for gambling enthusiasts. January figures showed over $46 million in total bets for sportsbooks, translating to $6 million in revenue. Yet, the growth of sports betting has lagged behind online casinos, which Myers attributes to the absence of a professional sports team in the state.

The introduction of online poker is poised to enrich West Virginia’s gambling landscape further, promising to offer a new dimension to the state’s comprehensive betting options. As the state awaits the arrival of online poker operators, the anticipation builds for what could be a significant enhancement to West Virginia’s gambling offerings, marking another milestone in its gambling evolution.