Last Updated – November 30, 2014: Estimated Date of Legalized Online Poker in West Virginia is 2017-2018
West Virginia is a much more open State than its surrounding buddies. They have a pretty good selection of regulated gambling, which not only helps the State, but is also a great outlet for the people living in the State. The one aspect that they will not tolerate is unregulated forms of gambling.
§61-10-5. Betting on games of chance; furnishing money or thing of value therefor; penalty.
If any person at any place, public or private, bet or wage money or other thing of value on any game of chance, or shall knowingly furnish any money or other thing of value to any other person to bet or wage on any such game, he shall be guilty
This definition basically means that any unregulated and unauthorized forms of “games of chance” are deemed to be illegal. What makes it even harsher is the fact that they include the “public or private”, which might not be a good sign for those that want to play poker at home.
Gambling Allowed in West Virginia
As mentioned before, West Virginia boasts a healthy and wide array of gambling opportunities; the one form that is not present or allowed in the State is tribal gambling. They do have commercial casinos, as well as racetracks with pari-mutuel gambling. At these casinos and racetracks, they are allowed to use casino-style games, including poker and other table games. West Virginia has a state lottery, and they also have video lottery games.
As the gambling law states, no one is allowed to gamble on a game of chance, in public or private. This means that they are making social gambling illegal, as this is usually conducted in private settings; this is also not included as an authorized gambling activity.
WV Online Poker Law
West Virginia has no explicit laws in regards to online gambling, either against the individual players or the operators. Their laws could apply to online gambling, but this is a stretch at best.
Land Based Casinos and Tribal Stances
The State of West Virginia has some very good commercial casinos and racetracks available with Vegas-style casino games for the entertainment of their residents. The one thing they do lack is a tribal gambling presence. Even though they do not have the tribal gambling influence, it would seem that the local commercial casinos are open about having West Virginia expand into online gambling; especially if the State are the ones regulating it.
State Regulated Online Poker
Commercial casino entities are willing to listen about expanding into the online gambling scene. Although West Virginia has been seeing a slight decline in their gambling revenues, they are looking to pass online lottery tickets and other casino games soon. This a very good indication that West Virginia is very interested in regulating online poker sites.
West Virginia started their state lottery in 1986, where they sold their first instant scratch off tickets. In 1988, West Virginia became a charter member of the MUSL’s “Powerball” lottery. They currently don’t sell lottery tickets online, but their lottery commission is investigating this issue. It would seem they are very interested in expanding their services onto the internet, and it’s likely they will start selling lottery tickets online in 2015.
West Virginia Online Poker Sites
West Virginia has pretty broad gambling laws, but they do not include anything when it comes to online poker. The State is getting the ball rolling in trying to expand their gambling efforts by selling lottery tickets online, as well as possibly regulating online poker sites. With these efforts under way, it would be odd if they started to prosecute online poker players. It is safe to assume that BetOnline and Bovada Poker are safe to use and play at for those players living in West Virginia.