Legal Online Poker in West Virginia
West Virginia offers a wide range of gambling entertainment options. The state allows land-based racinos, sports betting, online gambling, lottery, bingo, daily fantasy sports, and horse racing. In fact, it is home to five land-based casinos, offering a solid number of poker games and tournaments.
At first glance, this makes The Mountain State a gambling Mecca for poker enthusiasts and other gamblers alike, right? Unfortunately, this is not the case with the card game’s online version. Despite being legal since 2019, this industry is still waiting for its turn to go live.
Thankfully, this doesn’t mean WV players can’t enjoy web-based poker at all. In this guide, we’ll explore all the legal brick-and-mortar and online options West Virginia residents have for playing this casino classic.
Is Online Poker Legal in West Virginia?
Online poker became part of West Virginia’s legal landscape on August 26, 2019, with the passage of House Bill 2934. However, before reaching that point, the state had gone through a rough several years.
The first serious steps were taken in 2017 when State Delegate Shawn Fluharty began pushing for online gambling and poker legalization. He sponsored the first online bill — HB 3067 — along with four more delegates. Looking at the revenues generated from the industry in Pennsylvania and New Jersey (the only two states with online poker sites in existence at the time), he realized that WV could benefit immensely from legalizing this sector.
Fluharty’s first attempt yielded no results, but he gave it another shot in 2019. Teaming up with another delegate, the duo introduced HB 2934, co-sponsored by the other nine members of the West Virginia House of Representatives. This time, the bill passed the Senate and became known as the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act.
Under this law, all five brick-and-mortar casinos could apply for a license and seek approval from the Gaming Commission. Although several sportsbooks launched their websites soon after, no online poker operator has teamed up with any of the land-based gambling halls yet.
The following documents explain poker in West Virginia in more detail. Check them out to learn all the peculiarities:
- House Bill 2934 — West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act
- West Virginia Code — Chapter 61. Crimes and Their Punishment
Best Legal Poker Rooms in West Virginia
Even though West Virginia arrived relatively late to the poker party, there are several opportunities for players who want to enjoy this popular game. Let’s review the online and land-based poker rooms you can access from the Mountain State.
Legal Online Poker in West Virginia
We have already explained that, despite the fact that the Mountain State allows online poker, this industry hasn’t picked up yet. As of 2023, state regulators are still waiting for online poker operators to express interest and partner with land-based racinos.
Industry experts contend that the rooms are hesitant due to the state’s small population of only around 1.7 million. They believe the only potential remedy at this point is for West Virginia to join the Multi-State Internet Gaming Association (MSIGA), allowing it to share player pools across state lines. How this situation unfolds largely depends on the WV Justice Department’s interpretation of the Wire Act of 1961, a law prohibiting multi-state betting to combat organized crime.
Nevertheless, this hasn’t stopped many from speculating which operators could possibly launch in WV, and the clear frontrunners would be BetMGM and PokerStars. The former is more likely to begin operations in the state because of its existing partnership with The Greenbrier for online casino games and sports betting. Thus, it seems natural that it would incorporate online poker into its app or website. The latter is also connected with The Greenbrier, as this casino collaborates with PokerStars’s parent company — Flutter Entertainment.
If any of them launched in WV, players could legally enjoy No Limit Texas Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha, the most prevalent options on most sites. They could also expect to play unique games and variants these sites occasionally offer. Furthermore, there would be tournaments like SnGs, jackpot SnGs, bounties, and more.
However, since WV online poker sites are nowhere on the horizon, players can join offshore poker sites. They are not West Virginia-based, so they don’t have to comply with state regulations. This places them in the legally gray zone, which many WV players use to their advantage.
Aside from offering popular and niche poker variants, they are also suitable for novice and seasoned players. Tournaments take place regularly and come in the formats of freerolls, freezeouts, MTTs, and some platforms even offer guarantees going over seven figures.
Although it is considered a misdemeanor punishable by $5–$300 in fines or between 10 and 30 days of jail time, the Mountain State has never prosecuted anyone for playing poker on offshore platforms. However, if you attempt to run an illegal poker site in the state, the penalty is harsher — a year of imprisonment or a $1,000 fine.
My list of the best US poker sites which I consider to be the best rooms to play in 2023:
- BetOnline Poker
- Ignition Poker
- Everygame Poker
- Juicy Stakes Poker
- ACR Poker
- Bovada Poker
- BlackChip Poker
- SportsBetting Poker
100% Legal & Licensed Verified Bonus Mobile Friendly Advertiser Disclosure. Must be +18 to participate.
Legal Land-Based Poker in West Virginia
The Mountain State has had a long gambling history, but most of the activities were illegal initially. Although the State Constitution of 1872 took an unfavorable view of gambling, denying itself the right to authorize any lotteries (all types of gambling were considered lotteries at the time) down the road, this didn’t stop the sector from developing underground during prohibition.
Gangsters and criminal kingpins ruled the scene until the state finally legalized the first form of gambling in 1933 — horse racing. The constitution was amended several times, and soon greyhound races, bingo and raffles, and lotteries followed in the 1980s.
Land-based casinos didn’t exist until the mid-nineties, at least not in this form. They were all horse or greyhound racing facilities, but 1994 was the year when racinos were allowed to add slots to the mix. Table games became part of their offer in 2007.
Currently, West Virginia is home to four racinos and one land-based casino, with some of them offering poker games. All of these establishments are commercially owned, and there are no tribal venues. Residents don’t have to go too far to get some action because they’re all spread out pretty evenly throughout the state. They are:
- Mardi Gras Casino & Resort (1985)
- Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races (1933)
- Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Racetrack (1866)
- The Greenbrier (1913)
- Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort (1951)
It’s worth mentioning that having these five casinos at their disposal is not enough for some players. They often cross the border and head to neighboring Maryland in search of more poker opportunities.
How to Register at a Legal Online Poker Site in West Virginia
Registering at any of the online poker rooms on our page won’t take long. After you’ve researched and compared their game collection, promotions, and tournament schedule, the next step is to sign up at one of them. Let’s get started:
Choose A Poker Room
Click the link of your chosen operator, and it will take you to its official website.
Once there, hit the Sign In/Register button.
Verify your account via email, SMS, or both to finalize the registration process.
Familiarize yourself with the bonus options and the related terms and conditions you must meet. Then, decide if you want to claim the welcome bonus.
Deposit & Play
Go to the Banking section to check all the available payment gateways. Check if the casino allows using the same banking method for depositing and withdrawing. Before you choose one, find out if there are any fees and limits and check what the minimum amount required to redeem the welcome bonus is. Proceed to make a deposit.
Navigate to the game lobby and explore the casino’s game and tournament offers. When you single out the formats you may join, inspect all the details, including buy-ins, stake limits, and other tournament rules. Now, you are ready to play.
Lastly, remember that you must still verify your identity to be allowed to withdraw any winnings. Submit the necessary documents as proof of your identity and address and wait for the operator to confirm it.
Land-Based Casinos With Live Poker
Although West Virginia is home to five land-based casinos, only three have dedicated poker rooms offering cash games and regular tournaments. So, this is where you can usually enjoy Limit and No-Limit Texas Hold’em, Limit and Pot-Limit Omaha 8 or Better, Pot Limit Omaha, and other games.
Some games start small, with $1 or $2 buy-ins, but if you are a high-roller, you can join those ranging from $80 to $150, with guarantees up to $10,000.
These casinos are not just gambling hubs, but they also offer accommodation, fine and casual dining, entertainment, wellness, and a plethora of other amenities. Some have sportsbooks, and four have racetracks.
So, if you are 21 and want to play live poker in West Virginia, this is where to go:
- Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races — 750 Hollywood Dr, Charles Town, West Virginia 25414 (15 tables)
- Mardi Gras Casino & Resort — 1 Greyhound Dr, Cross Lanes, West Virginia 25313 (6 tables)
- Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Racetrack — 1 S Stone St, Wheeling, West Virginia 26003 (9 tables)
Final ThoughtsCurrently, there are no plans for online poker sites in WV, but what ignites the hope in local poker players is that giants like BetMGM, FanDuel, and DraftKings have already launched their sportsbooks in the state. It is, therefore, reasonable to expect they could eventually add online poker to the mix.
For now, the small WV poker player pool is the main barrier that keeps online poker platforms on the fence, but joining the MSIGA could speed up and change the state of things. Until then, WV poker enthusiasts can join offshore poker sites and enjoy various cash games and tournaments. Choose any from the list above and start playing right away!