December saw online casino gambling in West Virginia take a financial hit, with revenues down on a month-to-month basis.
More specifically, the Mountain State’s iGaming handle totalled $10,281,924.40 in December, with this down from the $10,332,772.70 reported in November.
However, this may only represent a fleeting trend, especially with a similar decline reported in WV’s offline (or retail) casino sector. Despite this, December saw the iGaming market achieve positive year-on-year growth, while it’s poised to go from strength-to-strength in the months ahead.
We’ll explore the growth achieved through 2022 below, while asking what the future may hold for this burgeoning marketplace.
Growth and Market Development – A Bumper 2022
We’ve already touched on the annual growth recorded by West Virginia’s iGaming sector through 2022, with this particularly evident in terms of how much natives wagered online during this period.
In December 2021, West Virginians gambled some $223,879,339.08 across the state’s available iGaming verticals.
However, this number increased by a whopping $76.77 million to $300,648,752.06 million just 12 months later. Incredibly, November had actually seen the number peak higher at $311,166,800.49, as online casinos in West Virginia continued to benefit from significant demand.
With year-on-year revenue growth also positive, it’s clear that WV is wasting no time in its quest to build a lucrative iGaming market. As one of six states that has legalised online casino gambling in the US, it’s also become a magnet for some of the world’s leading iGaming operators.
March 2022 saw International Game Technology PLC (IGT) expand its broad digital content library into WV, for example, making iconic and popular games such as Fortune Coin, Cleopatra, Ultimate X Poker and Siberian Storm available across mobile and online channels via approved operators in the state.
Soon after, the market leading live casino brand Evolution Gaming also expanded into West Virginia. This award-winning brand also offers an advanced and transparent RNG service, but live casino games continue to contribute the vast majority of Evolution’s revenue.
At the same time, the move into the WV market came at a time when Q1 2022 financial results highlighted North America as Evolution’s third-largest source of revenue.
Even more significantly, last summer saw the market leading iGaming software house Play’n GO enter into the Mountain State.
This is just the third US jurisdiction entered by Play’n GO, after the brand secured licenses in both New Jersey and Michigan earlier in 2022. While this means that the brand is now active in half of the US states to have legalised iGaming, it also highlights the strategic importance and value of WV.
Make no mistake; the game developer has firmly committed to US growth throughout 2022, taking more than 50 of its most popular titles stateside and to an increasingly engaged West Virginian audience.
What Does the Future Hold for Gambling in West Virginia?
November also saw the high growth brand Hacksaw Gaming arrive in West Virginia, with the online slot gaming company (which is similar to Play’n GO) making its US debut in the Mountain State.
Around the same time, both Internet Vikings and EveryMatrix entered into formal partnerships with West Virginia, so the future undoubtedly looks bright for both iGaming operators in the state and its players.
One particularly promising trend that could take hold in West Virginia is cryptocurrency and NTF gambling.
This is certainly commonplace in more mature markets outside of the US, while this arguably provides an opportunity for West Virginia to steal a march on their iGaming rivals in the near-term.
It could definitely become a leading hub for Bitcoin and Ethereum casino platforms over time, while potentially evolving to accept NFT games and verticals in the longer term.
NFT gaming developers definitely have the potential to add a new dimension to the iGaming realm, by allowing for players to create and own bespoke digital assets while also enabling gameplay across different platforms.
Given the increasingly accessible and immersive nature of online casino games in West Virginia, it also stands to reason that offline gambling in the state should continue to lose market share to iGaming in the coming years.
Like we say, offline and retail casino revenues were down in December 2022, while the exponential growth of iGaming and the sheer range of choice that it offers players will make land-based gambling increasingly obsolete over time.
The Bottom Line
Of course, none of us really know what the future holds for off or online gambling in West Virginia.
However, we can draw genuine insight from past and recent market developments, while the expansion of the iGaming niche through 2022 and arrival of several market leading players hint at a bright and profitable future for all stakeholders.
We’d definitely keep our eyes peeled for crypto and NFT gambling in WV in the future, as the state looks to become one of the market leaders stateside!