Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack Is Betting On the Future of Sports Wagering
WHEELING — Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack is seeking workers for “anticipated” sports betting in an effort to be up and running in the coming months. On Monday, the facility held a job fair and a second is planned for next week.
West Virginia lawmakers passed a measure earlier this year to allow the state’s five casinos to offer sports betting if the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act — a law prohibiting sports betting in most states since 1992. With that law being overturned in May by the Supreme Court, the state’s casinos now are permitted to offer sports betting. The casinos are in the process of installing the necessary equipment and hire workers to man the sports betting portion of their facilities.
“We are preparing for it (sports betting) right now. The state of West Virginia has made it possible for us by passing the legislation they passed in the first part of the year,” said Kim Florence, president and general manager of Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack.
A second job fair is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 9.
In addition to the job fairs, Florence said construction is underway in a centrally located spot inside the casino around the Waves Lounge area for the anticipated sports betting. She said while an official date has not been determined for sports betting at the casino, they hope to make that announcement in the near future.
“It’s right in the middle of the gaming floor, so it’s really easy to find. It’s got a lot of access to food and beverage options … and we’re really excited about what it’s going to look like. It’s going to be transformed into a place where people can actually watch sports and bet on sports at the same time,” she added.
“Anything that you would anticipate seeing in Las Vegas in a sports betting lounge … we will have the ability to do here.
“We have started a job fair today — not only for getting people in the pipeline with getting us open for sports betting but also with other positions like security and food and beverage — roles that we need all the time. …We’re working toward getting it up and running and we know it’s going to be forthcoming in the near future and we’re working toward getting that starting date finalized,” Florence added.
State Lottery Director Alan Larrick recently said that it is estimated as many an additional 32 states could enter the sports betting field within the next five years, and West Virginia wants to be the first to score.
Staff Writer Joselyn King contributed to this story.