PlayUSA Rewind: West Virginia’s Presidential Election Betting Snafu

Written By Grant Lucas on April 14, 2020 - Last Updated on June 8, 2022

We’re really looking forward to the day when these weekly wrap-ups don’t lead with the coronavirus pandemic.

Alas, it does again this week, as sports remain sidelined and as casinos remain closed.

But the legalized sports betting world has not completely shut down. Three of the four golf major championships have been rescheduled, setting the scene for an action-packed fall. Additionally, eNASCAR (essentially virtual stock racing) has emerged in several states.

In a few weeks, the NFL Draft will begin. And another state could become the next to legalize wagering. But first, we head to the Mountain State, where history was made and then quickly erased.

On to the Rewind:

Election betting quickly struck down in WV

For a short time, it appeared as though the country saw its first opportunity to legally wager on the 2020 presidential election.

Just as quickly as FanDuel Sportsbook introduced that market, however, it was pulled by West Virginia regulators.

FanDuel surprised the legal gambling world by posting lines surrounding this year’s election. Just a few hours later, however, the bookmakers pulled said lines.

FanDuel reportedly received approval from the West Virginia Lottery to offer presidential betting. Soon after, West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner released a statement emphasizing that “(gambling) on the outcome of an election has no place in our American democracy. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever.”

Apparently, the office of Gov. Jim Justice was not informed about FanDuel introducing presidential betting. And the group’s decision to OK FanDuel’s request was a mistake.

For what it’s worth, during the brief time presidential lines existed, FanDuel listed Donald Trump as a -110 favorite with Joe Biden holding +125 odds.

Sports betting on its way in Massachusetts?

Following several years of silence on the subject, the heart of New England is suddenly a serious contender to legalize sports betting.

Just before the coronavirus pandemic brought a screeching halt to legislative sessions, the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies advanced a bill to legalize sports betting in Massachusetts.

Previously, five sports betting bills introduced in the state made their way to the joint committee. Now, H 4559 replaces those proposals. The bill allows regulated wagering at three casinos in the state as well as at a slot parlor and horse racing tracks. Additionally, up to five sportsbooks could operate online.

The verbiage in the proposed bill obviously authorizes retail and online betting, both on pro sports and college athletics. Casinos can develop three online skins and the slot parlor has access to two skins.

That said, the bill prohibits wagering on the Olympics, esports and in-play props of college athletes. The legislation would also ban the use of credit cards to place wagers.

The state legislature has until July 31 to pass the bill.

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NFL Draft betting alive and well

While stadiums, arenas, courses and fields remain void of sporting action, the NFL Draft still expects to go on as scheduled — virtually, no less.

Indeed, league commissioner Roger Goodell has pulled the draft from its original location, Las Vegas, and told teams that the draft would operate remotely. Fortunately, that does not really affect NFL Draft betting.

Take your pick as to which book you’d take your action: DraftKingsFanDuelWilliam HillPointsBet and Fox Bet. They all, and others, offer draft-related markets.

And options abound, including bets such as:

  • Draft position of a player
  • First, second and even third QBs to get drafted
  • Total QBs drafted in first round
  • Draft position of first defensive player selected
  • Position of Mr. Irrelevant

It is no secret who the Cincinnati Bengals will likely select with the No. 1 pick. How sure is it that LSU QB Joe Burrow will head back to Ohio? DraftKings pegs him as a -2500 favorite to go first overall. Ohio State DE Chase Young and Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa share identical +1600 odds to earn the top pick.

For those looking for a little better value, perhaps the second overall pick market suits you better. Be warned, as odds are not much better. After all, Young is listed at -2000 to go to the Washington Redskins, with Tagovailoa (+1000) and Oregon QB Justin Herbert (+3300) further behind.

Grant Lucas Avatar
Written by
Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sports writer who has covered the high school, collegiate and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield and Oregon State athletics, the Portland Trail Blazers and golf throughout his career.

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