Sharp action is the hallmark of underwhelming West Virginia sports betting
When lawmakers consider whether they should bring regulated sports betting into their marketplaces, the prospect of buckets of tax revenue is usually the driving force. After all, when it comes to gambling the house always wins, right?
In West Virginia, where sports betting has been legal for nearly three months, that hasn’t proven to be the case. At the state’s two legal sportsbooks, sharp players have been cashing in on big wins and starving the state of precious revenues.
According to a report in the West Virginia Gazette, the Hollywood Casino, in Charles Town took in $9.36 million in wagers at its sportsbook. Thanks to some heads up wagering by West Virginia sports fans, the casino wound up giving $8.73 million of that back to its customers for a profit of just $630,206. From that profit, the state took 10 percent for taxes, leaving the casino with a profit $567,206.
While that $63,000 may not seem like a lot of tax revenue for the State of West Virginia to collect from a booming sports betting enterprise, it would also prove to be the only cash the state would collect from sports betting at all.
Over at the posh, members-only, Greenbrier resort and casino the state’s well-heeled gentry took the FanDuel-branded sportsbook to the cleaners. Bettors put down $795,899 worth of wagers and took home $832,411. That left the casino with a loss of $36,511 and that state with nothing to show for its support of regulated sports betting at the Governor’s personal fun palace.
Industry watchers expect two more sportsbooks to open up in West Virginia by the end of the year. With any luck, they’ll be situated in a part of West Virginia where there are fewer sharp players and the state can earn some money.
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