- PointsBet has launched online and mobile sports betting in West Virginia.
- They’ve partnered with Penn National owned Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races.
- West Virginia is the seventh US state that PointsBet has entered along with Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and New Jersey.
Australian import sports betting company PointsBet continues to establish itself as one of the leading brands in the United States market. They’ve done so by establishing some key partnerships with a number of assets in the sports and media industries. In addition to many partnerships and promotional deals in jurisdictions where they’re licensed they’ve added some big national collaborations to help establish the brand on a macro level. The most significant of these is a partnership deal with NBC Sports–NBC took an equity stake in PointsBet who are now the ‘official, exclusive sports betting partner’ of the network. They’ve also done a deal with the National Hockey League (NHL) on similar terms, giving the league an equity stake in exchange for the designation of being an ‘Official Sports Betting Partner’.
Meanwhile, PointsBet has been at work gaining market access and earlier this week they added a new state to their roster. PointsBet has launched mobile and online sports betting in West Virginia in partnership with Penn National owned Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races. Penn National operates the retail sports betting operation at this property–it’s currently called the ‘Sportsbook at Hollywood Casino Charles Town‘ though it will likely be rebranded to a Barstool Sportsbook location at some point in the future.
West Virginia is one of the many states that is succeeding due to the popularity of sports betting and despite their own bungling efforts to regulate it. Sports betting in the state is regulated by the West Virginia Lottery and that’s never a good idea. Handing off sports betting to a bureaucracy that knows nothing about it had a lot to do with the state’s early struggles with online betting. At one point, two of the casinos in the state had to suspend online and retail wagering due to a ‘contract dispute with a third party technology supplier’. That was bad news since in the early days of sports betting in the state the ‘BetLucky.com’ website jointly operated by the Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras casinos was the only online betting option available to West Virginia players. This is one of the real dangers when an overly burdensome regulatory system and too little competition stifle the autonomy of sports book operators.
The situation has improved as actual professionals have made their way into the state. PointsBet is the sixth online betting platform in the West Virginia market joining DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook and BetRivers. The state’s anti-competitive regulations and incompetent bureaucratic oversight is really keeping West Virginia from reaching its full potential as a sports betting jurisdiction but at least players in the state have a few options now. In late 2020, Golden Nugget Online Gaming announced they had a market access deal for West Virginia but as of yet they haven’t launched there. For PointsBet, its the seventh operational state joining New Jersey, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Colorado, and Michigan. The press release announcing the launch indicated that PointsBet will launch its online casino platform in West Virginia in ‘the near future’.
Johnny Aitken, PointsBet USA CEO, had this to say about his company launching in West Virginia:
“Launching in West Virginia is a special moment for PointsBet and presents another tremendous opportunity we are excited to attack. As always, PointsBet will provide this passionate, sports-loving community with the fastest and most reliable online sports betting product across every customer touchpoint. We are thrilled to now introduce West Virginian sports bettors to PointsBet’s competitive advantages in owning our technology end-to-end, such as our unrivaled speed and ease of use as well as the deepest slate of betting options in the world for every NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, WNBA, and PGA TOUR contest.”
PointsBet also added a blurb which details some of their promotional plans with NBC Sports:
As the official, exclusive sports betting partner of NBC Sports, PointsBet will utilize the media giant’s premium television and digital assets to promote the PointsBet brand. As part of the agreement, NBC Sports provides PointsBet with year-round, multi-platform media and marketing opportunities across its unmatched portfolio of events, including exclusive multiplatform gameday integrations across NBC Sports Regional Networks. PointsBet’s full Spanish-language functionality will reach Hispanic sports fans via Telemundo Deportes and Telemundo broadcast stations.
PointsBet should be a welcome addition to the West Virginia sports betting ecosystem. The more legitimate companies that set up shop in the state the better. Hopefully at some point they can exert pressure on the state to create a proper gaming commission and a less onerous regulatory framework for sports betting.