The Launch of Mobile Betting in West Virginia Put on Hold

Publish: 25.06.2019

The launch of mobile betting in West Virginia has been delayed, while the state’s Lottery cited server issues and the Wire Act as the main reasons for this halt.

According to the initial schedule, DraftKings’ mobile app was expected to go live last week, through partnership with Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races.

The Mountain State’s largest gambling venue launched retail betting back in August last year, only a couple of months after the US Supreme Court ended the federal ban on this activity.

Waiting for the Launch

The partnership agreement between DraftKings and the casino’s parent company, Penn National Gaming, was inked earlier this year, and under its provisions, the renowned operator was tasked with launching an online and mobile sportsbook with Hollywood Casino.

The West Virginia Lottery, who is also the state’s gambling regulator, announced last month that Draft Kings passed all the required tests, and that it was ready to go live. The launch was expected to take places during the last week.

After it was clear the launch was going to be delayed, John Myers, Director at the West Virginia Lottery, said in a statement that the launch of the app had been delayed to ensure compliance with the Federal Wire Act.

Myers added the physical location of DraftKings’ servers had prompted the company to move forward with caution.

DraftKings’ main server is located in West Virginia, but the secondary server caused the delay as it wasn’t located within the state. According to PlayWV gambling portal, the secondary server has the role of determining whether players have sufficient funds in their accounts to place wagers using DraftKing’s mobile app.

Sever Causing the Problem

The so-called wallet server is located in New Jersey, and since this means online gambling data will not be transmitted within borders on West Virginia, it could be seen as a clear infraction of the 1961 Wire Act, although the transfer of data does not constitute sports betting.

Still, the renowned operator and its West Virginia partner have made a decision to deal with this issue with extra caution.

DraftKings plan to build the secondary server within borders of West Virginia. This is the main reason of the deal, as the whole process will take some time. Until the process is completed, the local gamblers will not be able to place wagers using their smartphones.

Commenting on the future launch of the app, Myers said it could become available by the time the new football season started in September.

On the other hand, DraftKings announced they didn’t have any concrete date on either a soft launch or a full public launch in West Virginia.

In a sort of an explanation, given on the West Virginia Lottery site, Myers said they all wanted to proceed the right way.

He added the construction of the network and the mobile app involved many parties and could affect the operations of other jurisdictions.

Myers also explained the Lottery wanted to see a successful launch as soon as possible, but he pointed out they needed to make sure that the citizens of West Virginia and the Lottery’s employees were not put at risk.

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