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What is the Legal Gambling Age in West Virginia?
Visitors and locals alike will often ask “what is the gambling age in West Virginia?” – so that’s what we’re about to address.
People aren’t always sure of the rules because certain forms of gambling have different age requirements. And since online betting is still a recent development, that adds an extra layer of confusion. This article will clear things up once and for all.
Here’s a brief overview of the different WV gambling age requirements:
|Land-Based Casinos||Online Casinos||Sports Betting||Poker||Fantasy Sports||Lottery & Bingo||Pari-Mutuel|
Legal Age for Land-Based Casinos in WV
There have been casinos in West Virginia since the late 1800s, but the laws were not officially codified until March 1994. In doing so, lawmakers permitted riverboat casinos in the Mountain State, as well as traditional casinos. They also made provisions for gambling machines at racetracks, dubbed “racinos”.
Unlike much of the United States, West Virginia has no Native American reservations, so there are no tribal casinos. There are just five commercial casino premises in the state:
- Casino Club at The Greenbrier;
- Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races;
- Mardi Gras Casino and Resort;
- Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort;
- Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Racetrack.
The legal West Virginia casino age is 21.
Legal Age for Online Casinos in WV
Online gambling in WV is still a relatively new phenomenon. The West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act was only passed in March 2019, with the first WV online casinos arriving in 2020.
In order to open an online casino, the company must be partnered with one of the five land-based operators. And as per local law, players must be at least 21 to open an account and gamble for real money.
Other Forms of Gambling in West Virginia
In West Virginia, the gambling age varies by type. As we’ve already seen, it’s 21 for both online and land-based casinos. But what about other forms of gambling? Let’s take a look.
Lawmakers in the Mountain State were preparing for the arrival of sports betting long before the US Supreme Court overturned PASPA. Legislation was already in place by March 2018, thanks to House Bill 4396, and bettors must be at least 21 years old.
Online sports betting came a year later, when Fanduel launched on August 26, 2019. With the legal precedent already set, the minimum age for online sports betting is also 21.
West Virginia, like the rest of the USA, only offers pari-mutuel betting at race tracks. There is no fixed odds horse racing available.
According to the state’s laws, pool betting of this kind is legal for anyone over the age of 18. This applies to any form of pari-mutuel betting, including horse racing and greyhounds.
In order to bet on horses online, however, you must be 21. That’s because you need to create an account with an online sportsbook, rather than visiting a racetrack.
Daily Fantasy Sports
This is a gray area in many US states, since the concept of Daily Fantasy Sports is still relatively new. West Virginia is no exception, with no official legislation in place.
However, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey gave an official opinion that DFS is predominantly skill-based and should not be prohibited. Thus it is de facto legal in the state, and legislation is just a matter of time.
So what is the legal gambling age in WV for DFS? With no official laws, there is room for debate. But the major providers, such as DraftKings, require account holders to be at least 18 years of age.
There are several land-based poker rooms in the Mountain State, all located inside casinos and racetracks. Online poker was always classed as online gambling and was, therefore, illegal until 2019.
While technically legal today, there are no online poker sites currently operating. The WV gambling age for all forms of poker, both land-based and online, is 21.
Lottery and Bingo
The West Virginia Lottery was set up in 1984. According to the West Virginia Legislature, lottery tickets cannot be sold to anyone under the age of 18. For the time being, it is not possible to purchase them online.
Bingo is similar to lotteries, in that you must be at least 18 to play. Currently, there are no online bingo operators in WV.
West Virginia Gambling Age FAQs
Is gambling legal in West Virginia?
Yes, many forms of gambling are legal in West Virginia, including casino games, lottery, sports betting and horse racing. We’ve fully addressed each one elsewhere in this article.
How old do you have to be to gamble in West Virginia?
The legal gambling age in West Virginia varies. For casinos and sports betting, you must be at least 21. But for other forms of wagering, you can be 18. See above for full details.
Is the West Virginia gambling age different online?
No. WV online gambling laws are consistent with their bricks-and-mortar counterparts. For instance, both land-based and online casinos require players to be 21.
Is Daily Fantasy Sports legal in WV?
The West Virginia gambling laws don’t take fantasy sports into account. However, the Attorney General gave his opinion on the matter, suggesting that DFS should be legal. Expect official legislation in future.