West Virginia Sports Betting Off To Slow Start In 2023

Written By Darren Cooper on February 17, 2023Last Updated on March 25, 2023
West Virginia Sports Betting Revenue January 2023

West Virginia sports betting numbers for the first five-week period of 2023 showed a decline from the previous period of similar length. But — and there’s a big but — the latest report produced by the West Virginia Lottery does not include the week leading up to Super Bowl LVII.

The report lists activity by week, and for the period from Jan. 1 through Feb. 4, there were $55.5 million total gross tickets written (amount bet), with $48 million from online betting and $7.5 from retail services.

In December of 2022, West Virginia residents gambled $65.9 million. There was a huge bump in the last week of the year, when bettors put down $12.6 million.

For the fiscal year to date (from July 1, 2022, to Feb. 4, 2023) West Virginia is reporting $348 million in sports bets, which translates to $3.6 million in tax revenue.

West Virginia approved sports betting in 2018, becoming the fifth state in the county to do so. Online sports betting launched in December of that year.

Breaking down West Virginia sports betting key figures

West Virginia saw a total taxable revenue of $8.6 million for the last portion of the 2022 calendar year, compared to $4.5 million for the start of 2023. Again, these numbers don’t include the period from Feb. 5 through Feb. 12 and the 2023 Super Bowl.

The Super Bowl is the biggest single-day bet-on sporting event in America. The big number for the last week of the year is probably attributable to the college football playoff games and major bowl games that time of year.

For the start of 2023, West Virginia reaped $449,993 from the 10% privilege tax, with the state’s share being $382,494.

Why the dropoff in gambling revenue?

This would be expected with the sports calendar being sparse throughout January. The biggest events are the NFL playoffs, regular-season NBA and college basketball games.

West Virginia has no professional sports team to bet on but is partial to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL. But the Steelers did not make the playoffs.

It was obvious again that West Virginia bettors favor betting from home rather than in person, with $41.5 million more coming from online bets than one of the five retail locations in the Mountain State.

January revenue highs and lows

According to the revenue report published by the West Virginia Lottery, all five of the retail sports betting operators saw a dip in their numbers.

The Charles Town casino saw $27.3 million bet on sports in the first five weeks of 2023. The casino resort had big weeks in mid-December and mid-November when it went over $12 million alone. In the last five weeks of 2022, Charles Town saw $32.8 million bet.

The Greenbrier resort reported $22 million wagered over the first five weeks of 2023. That number was slightly lower than the $23.8 million the previous five weeks.

The Mountaineer Casino had its first week of under $1 million in wagers since mid-August and reported $3.97 million in tickets written since the start of 2023.

It was the same story for the Mardi Gras Casino and Wheeling Casino. The Mardi Gras Casino showed $853,000 in bets, the lowest since late summer, while Wheeling’s number of $761,000 is also comparable to its late-summer performance.

Late summer is when the sports calendar is weakest, with just NFL preseason football and Major League Baseball on the menu.

Photo by Graphic by Play WV
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Darren Cooper

Darren Cooper was born and raised in Southern Louisiana, just a short pirogue ride away from New Orleans. He started his journalism career at the New Orleans Times-Picayune and has been a writer and columnist in New Jersey since 1998. He’s won 14 statewide press awards and earned his first Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 award in 2022.

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