West Virginia Casinos
West Virginia is somewhat casino friendly compared to other states and has several gambling options. Today it is home to a total of four racino-style casinos as well as one exclusive 4 star, 5 diamond luxury casino resort. Currently the state offers pari-mutuel gambling, racetracks, lotteries, charitable gambling and commercial casinos which are each legal on the state level. Unlike some other states, it does not have any Native American casinos, but many of the gambling facilities here are “commercial” in nature. This means that they are able to offer both slots & electronic games as well as table games.
If you are unaware, West Virginia has a long and storied history in regards to horse racing. The first tracks opened here in the 1930s, around the same time that wagering on these races was made legal. It is home to the popular Charles Town Racetrack and Mountaineer Park which are among the most visited tracks in the country. West Virginia is most notable for being the first state in the U.S. to license racinos. Though its casino offering is fairly limited when compared to other states like Nevada, it does have a lot to offer.
West Virginia Casino Reviews
- The Casino Club at The Greenbrier (West Sulphur Springs)
- Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races (Charles Town)
- Mardi Gras Casino & Resort (Cross Lanes)
- Wheeling Island Hotel, Casino & Racetrack (Wheeling)
Types of Casinos in West Virginia
West Virginia is home to several racinos, which were first licensed in the 1990’s. Unlike most other states whose racinos do not include hotels and resorts, you will be pleased to know that the facilities here do offer these amenities. The casinos in West Virginia are almost all located on sites that were first host to racetracks; mainly thoroughbred courses. This comes with one exception however, and that is the “minor” and exclusive casino located at The Greenbrier Luxury Resort. This casino is different in that it only offers its casino to hotel guests and is described as being “tasteful.” Needless to say, you will not be disappointed with the casino offering in the state.
As we briefly mentioned above, the racinos in West Virginia are different than those in most other states. A large portion of the casinos here also have on-site hotel resorts, which is fairly uncommon for racetrack casinos. This is a bonus, considering that if you are a consistent player, you can usually get your hotel stay comped. Because the casinos here were built on former horse racing tracks, they do also offer simulcast wagering as well as live horse betting. This means you are able to either bet on other races across the country, or watch live races as they happen.
The resorts here offer up more than just hotel rooms as well. Many will include amenities like pools, conference rooms, nightclubs and large spas among other things. This makes them a great place to vacation and relax if you live nearby. Many of the casinos in West Virginia are within a short drive from large cities in places like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Washington D.C. and Kentucky.
The casinos within West Virginia are host to a variety of slot machine games as well as table games. This includes all the most popular machines, from IGT and Bally slots to live table games like blackjack, baccarat, craps, roulette and many poker variations. Unlike some other states, the table games are now able to offer live dealers, cards, dice and chips. This is different from some other states, which merely offer video table game machines. Poker rooms are also offered at most West Virginia casinos, though there are no exclusive card rooms.
History of Gambling in West Virginia
Legal gambling laid somewhat dormant for many years in West Virginia, with the only option being horse-betting at the many racetracks located here. It wasn’t until 1994 when legislature was passed that would in turn legalize and regulate gambling in the form of electronic games. This led to many of the racetracks expanding to also include on-site casinos. The casinos then started featuring electronic games like video poker and slot machines. This was the case for over a decade, until more legislature was passed that would enable table games to be offered.
Though the casinos saw a large spike in revenues as a result of electronic games, they were still missing out on huge opportunities related to table games. Knowing this, additional legislature was passed that would now allow table games to be offered in 2007. They would still have to be approved on the local level, however. This led to a variety of popular games being added in the following years. Games offered at West Virginia casinos today include blackjack, three card poker, baccarat, pai gow, let it ride and many others. Poker rooms were also added to many casinos around the same time.
Though most of the casinos in West Virginia now offer poker rooms, you’ll be hard pressed to find “card rooms” here. There are currently no facilities that exclusively offer poker and other table games. Each of the five casinos in the state offer electronic games in conjunction with table games and poker rooms. This can be somewhat disappointing if you are a poker player, but there are still a variety of options available in the way of cash games and tournaments.
Gambling Rules in West Virginia
As has become commonplace for resort casinos in most states, the legal age to gamble in West Virginia is 21 years old. This includes horse betting and pari-mutuel gambling while the age to play the lottery in just 18. You must be 21 to consume alcohol at the casinos here, and alcohol is sometimes comped, though it will depend on the specific casino you are visiting.