The Hollywood Casino of Charles Town is in the final phases of testing its mobile sports betting app, with a soft launch expected as early as next week.
Mobile sports betting may be back in action in West Virginia soon, as the Hollywood Casino of Charles Town is preparing to soft launch its offering. Testing of the sports betting app is currently taking place within the state Lottery. The casino must conduct certain tests before they can officially launch the product.
The announcement of the upcoming launch is positive news for the state, which has been lacking mobile options for quite some time. West Virginia was among the first to launch mobile sports wagering in the US, but a shutdown of services has left it without a mobile option for several months.
Shutdown due to dispute
Delaware North was offering sports betting online in West Virginia, via a partnership with Miomni Gaming. However, the services were shut down in early March for no apparent reason.
The company lost both its online and land-based operations in the shutdown. It was later determined that Miomni did not tell Delaware North that a third-party vendor was involved, Entergaming. It was Entergaming that shut down the services, leaving Delaware North high and dry with its BetLucky site.
A dispute had occurred between Entergaming and Miomni, which resulted in the shutdown. According to VSO News, Delaware North then decided to terminate its partnership with Miomni Gaming. West Virginia has since been without online sports betting.
In late April, several gaming operators in West Virginia were approved for online sports betting licenses, including the Hollywood Casino of Charles Town. The casino’s app is currently being tested.
Management have stated they would like to complete staff training before they hold a soft launch of the mobile app. The soft launch could occur as early as next week.
Technology and security staff members of the Lottery must verify that the app is able to perform several functions based on state law. This includes verifying the identity of a player before they accept any wagers. The app must also be able to use geolocation technology accurately in order to confirm that the individual is within the borders of the state before they begin betting.
Once the testing phase is complete, the Lottery will provide a letter of approval to the Hollywood Casino. Once it has the letter, the casino can officially launch its app.
Taking their time
Operators in West Virginia have been taking their time to develop the new mobile apps for sports betting in the state. After the US Department of Justice changed its interpretation of the 1961 Wire Act to include banning all interstate online gaming earlier their year, operators were afraid of violating the new rules.
They feared they would be in violation of the new interpretation if sports betting data was routed via internet servers in other states. Before launching an app for sports betting in West Virginia, operators have been working on server placement.
Lottery Commission director John Myers said: “We’ve had a lot of discussions with the mobile app providers, and we feel like we’ve been able to locate the servers in question in West Virginia so the information won’t travel across state lines.”
With its app launch, the Hollywood Casino would be the only operator in West Virginia offering mobile services. The casino already generates more gaming revenue than the four other state casinos, so it is expected that the sports betting app will be well received among players.