CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. — Sports betting is underway in the Mountain State.
Delegate Jason Barrett, D-Berkeley, placed the first bet Thursday at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in Jefferson County during a ‘soft opening” of the sports book.
Barrett put $50 down on WVU to win the football national championship. He would win around $3,000 if it happens.
“Ya know I certainly was going to take that opportunity to wager on the Mountaineers and I thought if I was going to be able to make the first bet I was going to do it big and I was going to do it right,” Barrett told MetroNews.
The official opening ceremony for the sports book at Hollywood Casino is set for 11 a.m. Saturday.
Barrett said it was very easy to place a bet.
“It reminded me of betting on a horse race,” he said. “You walk up to a counter and there’s a teller there and you tell them the wager you want to make. You hand them the cash and they hand you a ticket back.”
An app that will allow for online sports betting at Hollywood Casino remains a few weeks away from implementation.
The legislature passed the sports betting bill in anticipation of the possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court would rule that states would be allowed to establish sports betting. The Court did so in May.
A legislative estimate predicts additional revenue to the state of $5.5 million the first year. But a study commissioned by the state Lottery predicted revenue two to three times higher, at $9 million to $17 million.
West Virginia charged $100,000 licensing fees to the five casinos that will offer sports betting. There’s a 10 percent tax on adjusted gross receipts.
The sports betting law here is a model for the rest of the country, Barrett said.
“We have really done it right in this state and certainly Pennsylvania and others, if it’s going to be successful in their states, they need to look at what we did and model after us,” Barrett said.
The next up for sports betting will likely be the casino at the Greenbrier followed by Delaware North properties in Nitro and Wheeling along with Mountaineer Racetrack and Casino in Chester. All could be up and running by mid to late October, state lottery officials have said.