Wheeling Island, Mardi Gras open sports books

Sports betting app launched

WHEELING — After months of waiting, local sports betting fans can now place wagers at Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack as on Thursday the facility officially opened its sports book.

The Wheeling casino and its sister facility — Mardi Gras Casino & Resort at Cross Lanes, W.Va. — opened sports betting at 3 p.m. Thursday. The casinos are owned by Delaware North.

Also debuting was the “BetLucky” mobile app, which is now available at betlucky.com or, for Apple users, through the app store.

“Our patrons are going to enjoy these spaces in the casinos and everything else we have to offer in terms of hospitality and entertainment,” said Kim Florence, regional president and general manager for both Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras. “We are eager to welcome people from throughout the state and the regions surrounding West Virginia to try a new experience at our casinos.”

Wheeling Island got its sports book up-and-running shortly after The Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh opened its sports book. Long lines last weekend to place bets at The Rivers show the interest in sports betting, and Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras are the last two of West Virginia’s five casinos to enter the sports betting market.

Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Racetrack in the Eastern Panhandle opened first, followed by The Greenbrier. Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort near Chester opened just recently.

Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras had been waiting for the mobile app to be developed, as research indicates that 75 percent of sports betting will be done with the app. The app is not supposed to work outside of West Virginia, meaning all bets have to be placed within the state’s borders.

Delegate Shawn Fluharty, D-Ohio, has championed sports betting over the past several legislative sessions, finally seeing it pass earlier this year. He said getting the final two casinos online is another step forward in sports betting in West Virginia.

“It wasn’t long ago I was told sports betting was nothing but a pipe dream in our state and that the legislation would never pass or be taken seriously,” Fluharty said. “For once our state can say we were at the forefront of something. Let’s keep the momentum going.”

Delaware North is partnering with Miomni Gaming for its sports betting services.

“We think West Virginians and visitors to the Mountain State are going to love how easy it is to register and use the app,” said Luisa Woods, vice president of marketing for Delaware North’s gaming division.

“The platform was designed to be flexible, easy to use and reliable, with innovative features designed specifically to engage and entertain U.S. sports fans. Patrons at the casinos can use the app or the betting tellers in the sportsbooks.”

West Virginia joins New Jersey and Nevada as the only states with legal mobile apps for sports betting.