New sports betting app released for W.Va.

Published: Sep. 2, 2020 at 6:11 PM EDT
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KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - The Mardi Gras Casino and Resort sportsbook has reopened after being closed for months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While there are odds posted on the wall and scores scrolling across video monitors, only a handful of people have been showing up to place wagers.

To help get people back in the action without having to visit the sportsbook, the casino has launched its new Betly Sportsbook app and website, allowing people to place bets from anywhere in West Virginia.

“It’s bringing the wonderful amenities that Mardi Gras has to your own home and in your own hand,” Mardi Gras President Eric Althaus said. It’s very user friendly.”

Althaus said the app does more than just increase where someone can wager on a game from, it greatly increases the number of things people can bet on with in-game opportunities. That allows people to wager on who will get the next out in a baseball game, who will score the next touchdown in a football game and many more odds that can make every play of the game interesting.

“It adds a good feeling of excitement and energy,” Althaus said. “People get more engaged in watching the game, so it just feels better.”

Those in-game bets can also lead to large payoffs, sports bettor Doug Friley said. It allows someone to keep winning money by rolling winnings from one bet into another and another, with the possibility to grow a couple hundred dollars at the beginning of a game to thousands by time the score goes final.

“Everyone loves to bet sports, so whether it’s legal or not, or in casinos, everyone is going to do it,” Friley said. “It’s nice to have a place where you don’t have to worry about doing something wrong and you can place a bet and hopefully win some money.”

Friley said he typically drives an hour or more to Mardi Gras to place wagers on baseball, basketball and football games. The app will allow him to eliminate that trip and make the same bets and collect any winnings from his couch.

For people still wanting to get the in-person experience, Betly wagers can be placed on a mobile device within Mardi Gras or on kiosks placed throughout the sportsbook area. That will get its first test this weekend when a large crowd is expected for the Kentucky Derby, Althaus said.

“You don’t have to waste your time at the window,” Friley said. “You can go right to the kiosk and you can do everything right there. It is very easy, very self-explanatory, really easy to use.”

The Betly website, app and kiosks are managed by International Gaming Technology, which Mardi Gras’ parent company signed a contract with at the beginning of the year. The technology does require registering for an account, but includes safety features to protect a user’s information. There are also promotional offers for new users.

Althaus said the Betly platform will greatly improve the overall experience of betting on sports at the casino while keeping people safe from COVID-19.

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