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West Virginia Online Poker Laws

Is Online Poker Legal in West Virginia?
West Virginia Online Poker Laws
Last Updated December 17, 2018

West Virginia is bordered by five different states, and it’s safe to say that online poker is popular in all of them. Gambling has exploded in the Northeast region of the United States over the last decade, and online poker has definitely tagged along for the ride. Even as talk continues of regulated poker backed by major U.S. casinos, poker players in West Virginia and beyond are turning to international sites that can provide them with real-money poker games right now. Those rooms, how to access them and the overall relationship between the state and gambling make up the majority of our Guide to West Virginia Online Poker.

Online Poker in West Virginia

Whether you’re a student at West Virginia University or a resident of historic Wheeling, you’re probably looking for the same basic things from an online poker room: security, credibility and value. Those are the three aspects we gave the most weight when developing this list of the poker rooms – a list that we regularly update to keep pace with the ever-changing world of online poker:

Poker Sites Open to Players From Your State
Bovada$500 Bonus3-4 Day PayoutsAccepts Visa, Bitcoin, Wires
Ignition$2000 Bonus3-4 Day PayoutsAccepts Visa, Bitcoin, Wires
Intertops$600 Bonus5 Day PayoutsAccepts Visa, Wires
BetOnline$2500 Bonus5-7 Day PayoutsAccepts Visa, Bitcoin, Litecoin, Wires
Sportsbetting$2500 Bonus5-7 Day PayoutsAccepts Visa, Bitcoin, Litecoin, Wires

We can’t guarantee that every bluff you run online will be a successful one, but we can guarantee that getting online, creating an account and then depositing into that account will be a pretty smooth process at the list of WV poker sites featured above. The most popular deposit method for West Virginians: major credit cards, followed by money transfer services.

West Virginia Gambling & Poker Laws Summarized

State Code Section(s)19.23-24; 29.22; 61.10.1-5; 61.10.8-14
Definition of Illegal GamblingAny person who shall keep or exhibit a gaming table, commonly called A.B.C. or E.O. table, or faro bank, or keno table, or any slot machine, multiple coin console machine, multiple coin console slot machine or device in the nature of a slot machine, or any other gaming table or device of like kind, under any denomination, or which has no name, whether the game, table, bank, machine or device be played with cards, dice or otherwise, or shall be a partner, or concerned in interest, in keeping or exhibiting such table, bank, machine or gaming device of any character, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. If any person at any place, public or private, bet or wage money or other thing of value on any game of chance, or shall knowingly furnish any money or other thing of value to any other person to bet or wage on any such game, he shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
Online Poker/GamblingA lawmaker took up the issue of legalizing online poker and gambling in 2017, wanting to follow in Pennsylvania and New Jersey’s footsteps, though he received little support and has yet to propose another bill.
Live PokerThere are poker rooms in many of the racinos in West Virginia that offer cash games and tournaments.
CasinosRacetracks are allowed to offer video gaming terminals, similar to slot machines, and several of the state’s gambling facilities also offer table games like poker.
Sports BettingWest Virginia legalized sports betting in March 2018.
DFSLawmakers considered a daily fantasy sports proposal in 2016, but they did not pass it.
Other Forms of GamblingHorse and dog racing, pari-mutuel betting, lottery, bingo and charitable gambling, video lottery terminals.

Is Playing Online Poker Legal in WV?

The starting point for an answer to that question is West Virginia gambling law. In this section we’re going to highlight some of the most critical points of the law and assemble them in a simple list. Following that list you’ll find links to more resources that will give you the tools you need to understand where online poker stands in the state.

West Virginia law is especially confounding because the state does not provide a specific definition of what it means to gamble or bet. There are a number of charges related to gambling, but none provide complete clarity regarding what activity is and is not allowed in West Virginia.

For example, Section 61-10-1 lays out a list of prohibited activity:

“a gaming table, commonly called A.B.C. or E.O. table, or faro bank, or keno table, or any slot machine, multiple coin console machine, multiple coin console slot machine or device in the nature of a slot machine, or any other gaming table or device of like kind, under any denomination, or which has no name, whether the game, table, bank, machine or device be played with cards, dice or otherwise.”

Section 61-10-5 outlaws “Betting on games of chance; furnishing money or thing of value therefor,” but never defines what a “game of chance” is.

The charge of “Playing or betting at gaming tables and devices; playing or betting on games at hotels and public places” (Section 61-10-4) lists a set of games that are exempt from the charge, including “bowls, chess or backgammon, draughts or a licensed game.”

West Virginia gambling law does not make any obvious exception for social or private gambling.  Gambling conducted in public may bring additional charges, but gambling in the home remains technically illegal in the state.

It is a misdemeanor offense in West Virginia to cheat at gambling, apparently regardless of whether the gambling activity in question is legal or not (Section 61-10-9).

Read more with this searchable, full-text version of the West Virginia statutes listed below.

West Virginia’s Plans to Regulate Online Poker

While there has been little in the way of public political support for online gambling or online poker sites in West Virginia, it does appear that the wheels are turning behind the scenes. West Virginia has been repeatedly mentioned as a potential poker partner by Delaware officials. The state is also caught in an ever-escalating gambling arms race with neighbors such as Maryland and Pennsylvania, increasing the chances that West Virginia acts fast on online poker regulation to avoid playing catch-up to those states or other competitors.

West Virginia Gambling Facts

West Virginians (and visitors to the state) have a multitude of choices when it comes to regulated gambling. The state offers a lottery that serves up the old-style tickets and drawings along with decidedly more modern video lottery terminals. Resort casinos are permitted in the state’s borders, and racetracks in West Virginia feature not only pari-mutuel betting but a variety of casino games as well.

The list of regulated gambling opportunities in West Virginia is rounded out by charitable gambling. Organizations that meet the state’s criteria and hold a proper license can run bingo events.

There is an excellent chance that you’ll see online poker sites licensed by the state of West Virginia within the next few years. As for now, West Virginia is still on the sidelines of the online gambling game, offering no forms of online gambling directly overseen or approved by the state.


West Virginia Gambling Resources

West Virginia Lottery. Official site for the state lottery of West Virginia. Learn more about the state’s unique form of video lottery, get lottery data and information about where funds from the lottery go.

UNLV Center for Gaming Research. The abstract for West Virginia from the UNLV CGR provides an excellent snapshot of regulated gaming in the state. You’ll find a brief history, aggregate data since 1995 and a synopsis of the major regulated gambling options in West Virginia.

West Virginia Department of Commerce – Gaming. An all-in-one guide to the regulated gambling attractions of the state from the West Virginia DoC.

About Jennifer Newell

Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including PokerStars.com and has been followed the US market closely for the last 7 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

Disclaimer: The information on this site is my interpretation of the laws as made available online. It is in no way meant to serve as legal advice or instruction. We recommend that you seek legal advice from a licensed attorney for further or official guidance.

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