Wire Act Holds Up Online Betting in West Virginia

Sports bettors in West Virginia ready to get online sports betting back in their state will have to wait a few more weeks as DraftKings is delaying their launch due to the Wire Act.

The Wire Act, a federal gambling law from 1961, had become relevant once more when the Supreme Court legalized sports betting last year for all 50 states.

The law clouded the legality of online betting in all states, although New Hampshire just got a ruling on the law that allows the state to freely accept online bets from inside the state.

So with the Wire Act essentially decided upon in federal court, states have restarted their plans to take online bets from sports bettors.

The West Virginia Lottery, the body that oversees all betting in the state, had tested the DraftKings mobile app and called the tests, “a huge success.”

But with the Wire Act holding the state back, the mobile app could not be rolled out to bettors.

Now that the law has been ruled upon, bettors are wondering where the app is for betting.

West Virginia Lottery director John Myers recently told the WV News that the mobile app’s launch would be delayed “several more weeks” due to the location of the servers at DraftKings.

Although the Wire Act was ruled in New Hampshire’s favor, states are still bound to have the servers hosting and taking the betting to be inside the state’s boundaries.

The betting server was already in place inside the state lines at the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races.

But the wallet server, that holds the money for the bets, remained in New Jersey.

Since that created a Wire Act issue, the company and state officials are working to resolve the issue so betting can resume in West Virginia.

What is Being Done by the State and DraftKings to Solve the Problem?

Lottery director Myers has spent the week in damage control, asking for “patience” from those that can’t wait to place a bet with their mobile device.

Myers admitted that Lottery officials were “kind of learning as they go,” with regard to ironing out the wrinkles in the rollout of the DraftKings app.

While DraftKings resolved the physical issue of the server, state officials are working with lawyers to see if their efforts will satisfy the regulations of the Wire Act.

As it stands, Myers expects to get the mobile app operational in late July or early August.

DraftKings app was introduced as an alternative to the failed original mobile app from the operator BetLucky.

That company got into a dispute with casino operator Delaware North and was soon pulled offline when it was discovered that the company had used patented software without permission.

Lawsuits have been filed by all companies involved in the fiasco and the BetLucky app is caught in limbo until those problems are solved.

As it stands, bettors in the state can still make bets but must go to a sportsbook in a physical casino to place those wagers.

As sports betting fans wait for a solution, DraftKings and the state’s Lottery Commission hope that the delay will only last weeks rather than months.