Five months after mobile betting went dark in West Virginia due to a contract dispute with a platform provider, online betting is still floundering.
But this week, Lottery Director John Myers told PlayWV.com he was hopeful a mobile app would be up and running soon.
“There is a good chance of a mobile wagering app being ready by football season,” Myers said. “The lottery will be testing two mobile apps in the near future.”
Myers did concede there were still some regulatory concerns to work out.
This announcement comes on the heels of strong criticism from state Del. Shawn Fluharthy who says the inability to restore mobile betting is costing the state money.
‘“At this point, I would say mobile sports betting has continued a disturbing trend in West Virginia where the legislature passes a law and those responsible for implementing the law drag their asses,” he said to PlayWV.com. “I’ve seen little to no interest from state regulators in getting mobile sports betting up and running. They have shown zero urgency.”
Since March, the state’s sports betting operation has been plagued with issues including the dispute with services provider Miomni soon after the Bet Lucky app was launched, leaving two casinos without sportsbooks. That prompted a lawsuit.
In June, DraftKings pursued launching its online book but eventually stepped back due to compliance concerns regarding the Wire Act and interstate gambling.
Myers said DraftKings was put on hold when the location of the system’s servers became an issue causing them to move more cautiously, the Associated Press reported.
The lack of a full menu of betting options in the state has been heightened with both college and regular season NFL football readying for kick-off.
“Here we are entering football season in 2019 without a mobile sports betting platform. It doesn’t help that the one mobile platform we had, which everyone would agree was subpar when it rolled out, is currently offline due to litigation surrounding a contract dispute,” Fluharthy told PlayVW.com.
The state lawmaker blames the regulators. “So, at the end of the day, I am beyond frustrated,” he said. “Usually I can point the finger at the legislature for our failings, however, the legislation is sound and being emulated in other parts of the country. Those responsible for getting it done are failing us at all levels.”
Myers said the issue isn’t with his staff.
“There is no holdup from the state side,” he said. “The lottery has told them how a mobile system needs to be set up since 2018. Some of our management services providers initially provided a system that did not meet those requirements and the lottery denied approval of those based on the requirements of the Federal Wire Act.”
Myers insists they are looking for solutions to bring mobile back to the state and soon.