West Virginia Gambling Laws

West VirginiaWest Virginia has some pretty strict laws when it comes to illegal gambling. They also have a long list of gambling that they consider to be illegal. The way that we are reading the laws social poker games aren’t even legal. We will delve into the laws pertaining to gambling later in this article.

Can Players From West Virginia Play Poker Online?

Yes! Poker players from West Virginia love to play poker online, and they do quite often. There are several US real money poker sites, and all of these sites accept players from West Virginia.

If you would like to be playing poker online then you just need to sign up for an account, make a deposit, and begin playing. It is as simple as that. We have teamed up with the most reputable online poker sites in the industry so that you won’t have to spend a lot of time deciding which site to play at. Many of these sites offer hefty bonuses on your first deposit.

Is it Legal to Play Online Poker in West Virginia?

There are very few states in the United States that have clear laws pertaining to gambling online. Unfortunately West Virginia is one of the states that has many laws that pertain to gambling in general, but they have not addressed playing poker online at this point. This leaves many questions when it comes to the legality of playing poker online. We have some highlights of the laws that West Virginia has in place that pertain to gambling below:

  • West Virginia laws pertaining to gambling are even more complicated than most states because the laws do not provide a definition of what the state considers to be gambling.
  • The state has strict penalties for operating any gambling event: Any person who shall keep or exhibit a gaming table, commonly called A.B.C. or E.O. table, or faro bank, or keno table, or any slot machine, multiple coin console machine, multiple coin console slot machine or device in the nature of a slot machine, or any other gaming table or device of like kind, under any denomination, or which has no name, whether the game, table, bank, machine or device be played with cards, dice or otherwise, or shall be a partner, or concerned in interest, in keeping or exhibiting such table, bank, machine or gaming device of any character, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, shall be confined in jail not less than two nor more than twelve months and be fined not less than one hundred nor more than one thousand dollars. (Section 61-10-1)
  • Betting on a game of chance is punishable by a misdemeanor, but there is no definition of what is considered a game of chance (Section 61-10-5)
  • Gambling at home is considered illegal. It does not make a concession for poker games so we are guessing that this is considered illegal.
  • There is no mention of online gambling in the laws of West Virginia that we can find.
  • We have found no instance where an individual has been charged for gambling online in the state of West Virginia. [1]

As you can see the laws pertaining to gambling in West Virginia are very vague especially since there is no definition of what is considered to be gambling in West Virginia. As we read the law, if it is considered to be illegal to gamble online in West Virginia then it can be punishable by a misdemeanor. This is just our interpretation of the laws. We are not professionals in this area by any means. If you are concerned about the legality of playing poker online in West Virginia then we suggest that you consult a legal professional about these matters.

West Virginia Gambling History

West Virginia has had plenty of gambling go on throughout the years. Most of the gambling was illegal in the early days, but it was a big business in the state. The mob had several illegal gambling organizations running. It took many years for lawmakers to rid the state of the illegal gambling and the mob present, but finally in the early 1900s they cracked down on the illegal gambling and got most of it under control.

The state made almost all gambling illegal within the state. Residents that liked to gamble were forced to leave the state for almost any gambling activity because even home games were considered illegal. Finally in 1984 voters passed an amendment to approve the state lottery. The first tickets were sold in 1986.

Over the years the lottery has expanded significantly since the early days when there was a televised event that displayed the wheel spin for Daily 3 and Daily 4 games. The state joined with other states in 1988 to form a multi-state lottery that offered huge payouts.

The state furthered their lottery sales when it 1994 it approved slot-like games to be placed at the race tracks. The state also offers travel keno, which is an online game. Since the state has already delved into the online world a bit with their keno games, we are hoping that they will follow in this direction and eventually offer online poker games. It hasn’t happened yet, but we can always hope. [2]

Legalized Gambling Options in West Virginia

West Virginia actually has a lot of options when it comes to regulated gambling. The state lottery continues to be very popular and comes with a multitude of games for players. The state also offers resort casinos, pari-mutuel betting at the race tracks, casino games at the race tracks, and charitable gambling events.

Most states allow home poker games, but unfortunately this seems to be against the law in West Virginia. You can play poker in the state, but you must go to a card room to do so.

Will West Virginia Legalize Online Poker in the Future?

It seems likely that West Virginia might legalize online poker in the future. The state has not made a move at this point, but it is interesting that Delaware has mentioned that West Virginia could be a partner with the state when it comes to online gambling. Delaware has not said if there is negotiations to make this happen, but we think there must be at least some talk of it between the states.


  1. Jump up ^ West Virginia Gambling Laws
  2. Jump up ^ West Virginia State Lottery