West Virginia would apply to join a multi-state agreement for online poker and casino gaming if one of its operators told the state that it wanted to offer multi-state poker, an official with the state gaming regulator told Poker Industry PRO in an exclusive.
The official also suggested that such a request could materialize soon after Michigan becomes a participating member in the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA), and more operators can connect their player pools across multiple states.
Few operators would be capable of making such a request of the West Virginia Lottery. Of the nine online operators currently live in the state, only two — BetMGM and Caesars (through WSOP) — have a multi-state poker platform. But their interest in offering online poker in West Virginia may depend mainly on when Michigan authorizes its operators to offer multi-state poker.
David Bradley, Deputy Director for Security at the West Virginia Lottery, told Poker Industry PRO that the agency is “definitely interested” in joining MSIGA. The agency confirmed as much back in July 2021.
“Our director is definitely interested,” Bradley said Wednesday. “We’ve had discussions here at the Lottery, and at the appropriate time, we will make an application to join the compact.”
Bradley pointed out that currently, only the WSOP/888 US Network can fully take advantage of the opportunity for shared liquidity that MSIGA provides — it’s the only network with online poker rooms in the other three members of the compact — Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey. Since 888 isn’t live in West Virginia, a request for the state to become the compact’s fifth member won’t be coming from them.
“If one of our operators came to us and said they wanted to offer multi-state poker, I’m sure we [would consider it],” Bradley said. “Once Michigan joins, I’m sure there will be a lot of interest.”
Bradley said West Virginia had not officially applied to join the compact, and there was no timetable to do so.
“We’re monitoring the situation. It’s kind of a wait-and-see game to see what’s out there. Right now, we could join and be part of the compact, but we wouldn’t be able to offer the game.
“We’re in tune with it, we’re monitoring it, and we have the interest in it.”
BetMGM, Caesars, BetRivers Could Push for WV to Join Compact
Under West Virginia’s gaming laws, the state’s five casinos and horse racetracks can each have three skins for online casino gaming and sports betting. The three main gaming facilities in the state are the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, the Mountaineer Casino, and the private Greenbrier Resort.
Hollywood and Greenbrier each have three partner operators. The former is partnered with Barstool, DraftKings, and PointsBet, while the latter has partnerships with BetMGM, FanDuel, and Golden Nugget. Meanwhile, Mountaineer is partnered with BetRivers and Caesars.
Once Michigan’s operators are authorized for multi-state online poker, BetMGM could connect its player pool in Michigan with those in New Jersey that are on the partypoker US Network — which includes BetMGM Poker NJ, Borgata Poker NJ, and partypoker NJ.
Caesars could also potentially ask the West Virginia Lottery to move forward with joining MSIGA. That would allow it to connect to the WSOP/888 US Network — and the poker rooms on WSOP NV, WSOP NJ, and 888poker NJ.
BetRivers, which acquired a poker platform and announced plans for a future rollout, could also push for West Virginia to join the compact.
Two remaining casinos in West Virginia — Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island — use IGT software to operate Betly sportsbooks.
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