West Virginia Ready for the Crush of Sports Betting’s Opening Weekend
Whether it’s been hiring and training new employees, testing software or making everything “just so,” it’s been a busy few weeks at the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races. The casino is set to be the first in West Virginia to open for sports betting. The sportsbook will open Saturday, the first day of the first full weekend of the college football season.
NFL legend Joe Theismann will place the state’s first bet, following in the footsteps of Dr. J in New Jersey and Willis McGahee in Mississippi. The plan is for an “opening ceremony” at the sportsbook at 11 a.m., followed by the first bet.
The goal had been for all five of West Virginia’s sportsbooks to open simultaneously, but only the Hollywood Casino is ready and as such will go down in the history books as accepting the first legal sports bet in the history of the Mountaineer State.
First Weekend of WV Sports Betting Promises to Be Hectic. William Hill Will Operate WV’s First Sportsbook at the Hollywood Casino.
West Virginia becomes the fourth state since the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in May to open for sports betting. Delaware was the first in mid-June, followed by New Jersey and Mississippi. Pennsylvania and Rhode Island also have legal sports betting. Pennsylvania approved its temporary regulations earlier this month, and has yet to approve any sports betting licenses, while Rhode Island sportsbooks are expected to open for business later this fall.
The Hollywood Casino is a Penn National-owned casino/resort that is joining forces with William Hill to operate the fully regulated sports betting market under the auspices of the West Virginia Lottery.
The sportsbook will feature nine betting stations and dozens of wide-screen televisions. The race to open has been frenzied and exciting.
“I can’t tell you how many calls and questions I’ve gotten about the sportsbook, when it’s going to open,” Erich Zimny, vice president for racing and sporting operations at Hollywood, told the Charleston Gazette-Mail earlier this week. “It’s nice to have this amount of buzz and excitement going on.”
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