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Ribbon cutting ceremony makes sportsbook opening official at Mardi Gras

CROSS LANES, W.Va. — The day was a long time coming for many at Mardi Gras Casino.

From the workers to management to the gamblers, the sportsbook opening at the establishment in Cross Lanes was an exciting moment.

The ribbon was cut at 11:30 a.m. on Friday as wagers were placed both at the casino and on the mobile app associated with the sportsbook.

“It’s been a very exciting time for everyone,” Eric Althaus, Mardi Gras Casino President, and GM, said. “Obviously, the anticipation of this day is a very long time coming. We wanted to make sure everything was perfect and it has been seamless so far. It has been a great day (Friday) so far.”

Delaware North owns both Mardi Gras Casino and Wheeling Island Casino in Wheeling. Wheeling Island Casino held a similar ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday.

The company decided to open the sportsbook on casino properties when the mobile app was ready to roll as well. The company launched its online and mobile app for statewide sports wagering.

“We wanted to make sure that everything was right for the guest experience,” Althaus said. “Having the right component of both the retail and the online mobile version, it just made the most sense to ensure to ensure we were able to accommodate everyone’s entertainment value at the same time.”

“It’s kind of hard to quantify what the revenue stream is going to be. We are going to be the first in the state to have the mobile component so that is going to be the main driver. All the statistics that are coming out of Nevada show that the mobile is where the primary amount of money is coming from.”

Mardi Gras Casino and Wheeling Island Casino opening sportsbooks makes all five operating casinos in the state offering sports wagering. The two Delaware North properties are the only two with a sports wagering mobile app.

The others are Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort in Hancock County, Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Racetrack in Jefferson County and The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs.

John Myers, the Director of the West Virginia Lottery said a lot of work has gone into a day like Friday.

“We just added a few at a time and this will be the last addition as far as what has been approved by the legislature,” he said. “I think we will have to see how it is accepted by the general public and what kind of participation we get.

“From the standpoint of the lottery, we completed our testing in November. They (Delaware North) felt like it was best for them to bring it all up at the same time. We are there to help and give them any assistance they need to move it forward.”

West Virginia was one of the first states to make sports betting legal in anticipation of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this year. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of sports betting in May.

The sportsbook at Mardi Gras is open for bets on the NFL, NCAA basketball and football, the NBA and NHL.

“This is a good time to start it,” Myers said. “We have the bowl games coming up and I think a lot of opportunities for folks to participate.”


MetroNews News Director Jeff Jenkins contributed to this story. 

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