West Virginia’s Governor Approves Online Gambling

West Virginia is officially getting its own legal online casinos, following multi-lateral support for the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act approved by the House, Senate, and the Governor himself.

  • West Virginia online bill receives endorsement by state Gov. Jim Justice
  • H 2934 passed final legislature approval on March 9
  • Online poker will be featured as part of the activities allowed in the state

West Virginia Successfully Passing Bill

West Virginia made a very determined entry into the online casino industry. At first, it was just a bill. H 2934 landed in the House of Representative in February under a friendlier name, the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act, and cleared it without a hitch.

Then came the vote in the Senate, with Senators throwing their near-unanimous support for a future online gambling industry.

Then, everyone had to wait for Gov. Jim Justice.

Governors have been unlikely disruptors in recent years, shooting bills down long after the toughest bit – passing a legislation through the House and Senate, has taken place.

Mr. Justice decided not to veto the bill and chose to endorse it a bit, giving the state a reason for hoping that West Virginia will see its first online casinos open doors for netizens very soon. So far, there are five properties where online casinos can operate from, including:

  • Hollywood Casino, Charles Town Races
  • Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resorts
  • The Casino Club, The Greenbrier
  • Mardi Gras Casino & Resort
  • Wheeling Island Hotel

All properties have said that they will pay up or a casino license and also foot a renewal fee every year to the tune of $100,000. A license to run online casino costs $250,000, but there are other associated costs.

Another $100,000 will have to go for maintaining the online platform, not to mention that suppliers will also need to obtain a license with each costing $10,000.

Readying to Launch Online Casinos in West Virginia

Online casinos will probably not arrive until 2020 in the state, though this is just a preliminary estimate. Some hope that we can see an early launch in December, much like was the case with the sports betting industry in the state.

Next year is realistic, though, given the current challenges, such as logistics, signing partnerships, and not least of all the Wire Act that the Department of Justice want to champion at the expenses of online gambling activities.

In other places, such as Virginia, the state won’t see its first online casinos open until July 2020, and this is a fairly aggressive timeline. Virginia got an approval last week, so it’s very likely that West Virginia didn’t want to be behind.

It’s also interesting to watch how the process unfolds. In Virginia, for example, the Lottery Board (which will be regulating the new industry) has requested a special report that will asses how other states regulate and approach online gambling.

West Virginia has announced no such plans, but the bill is just fresh out of the oven.

Aran Malik

“Magic Malik”—as we like to call him—is not only a tech whiz but a wizard when it comes to getting obscure news hot off the press so we know exactly what’s happening and can explore and report it back to our growing and loyal readerbase.

West Virginia Almost Done with Online Gambling & Poker Bill

  • WV clears H 2934
  • Governor signature needed
  • The state’s Lottery to regulate online gambling

West Virginia is getting exceptionally close to signing online gambling into law. All that is needed is the signature of the state’s governor, following a successful passage through all levels of legislature.

West Virginia Can Soon Have Online Gambling

All scaremongering about the Wire Act and the Department of Justice’s high-handedness aside, West Virginia has been pushing towards full legalization of its online gambling industry. On February 12, Delegate Jason Barrett introduced House Bill 2934, which was expedited through the various stop-checks of the legal process in WV.

Minor patches were applied, but no large defiance came. The final approval was secured on March 9 when 78 delegates threw their unanimous support behind the bill with 18 people against and four choosing not to take sides.

WV’s H 2934 has been the quickest legislation to transition from a concept to proposition to now being what is one-signature away from becoming a law. Should the governor ratify the document, WV will be joining four states where online gambling is legally allowed, including Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

What Does WV Legal Gambling Bill Say?

The West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Ac allows companies interested in providing online gambling services to do so for a period of five year because re-application/renewal is needed. The license comes at a cheap cost of $250,000 and tax rate of 15% of GGR.

Existing land-based casinos in the state can now – on condition the governor approves the bill – start building their online brands that will be affiliated or borrow the name directly. This includes the following properties:

  • Hollywood Casino
  • Mountaineer Racetrack and Casino
  • Delaware North’s Nitro and Wheeling
  • Justice Greenbrier Resort

All activities will be regulated by the Lottery with the state about to figure out a way to address how to leverage funding coming from the gambling industry to use on public causes. Another issue that remains to be addressed is exercising control over gambling addiction and trying to narrow down its potential impact.

WV is a fairly unpopulated state for the needs of expanding the online gambling industry at a larger scale across the United States. However, the state is also among the first to try and push ahead with legalization of its segment and hopefully fetch extra customers from across the state border, while Kentucky, especially Ohio, and Indiana are still dithering over a decision. Connecticut is also spearheading its own expansion.

WV’s success can serve as inspiration to other states that are debating whether to push ahead with kickstarting their own industries. It’s worth noting that WV had solid political backing and not the history of divide common in other places that have tried to legalize online gambling.

Aran Malik

“Magic Malik”—as we like to call him—is not only a tech whiz but a wizard when it comes to getting obscure news hot off the press so we know exactly what’s happening and can explore and report it back to our growing and loyal readerbase.

West Virginia’s House Judiciary Okays Sports Betting Bill

  • West Virginia House Judiciary Committee votes in favor of H 2934
  • The tax rate changes from 10% to 15%
  • WV is serious about expanding online sports betting through independent contractors

The West Virginia House Judiciary Committee has decided not to put a stop to an advancing sports betting bill. As per the new agreement, businesses that want to start running activities in the state will have to pay a slightly steeper tax rate, too.

H 2934 Gets the Go-Ahead in West Virginia

House Bill 2934 is the most advanced hope for sports betting in West Virginia. The bill outlines the tax rate and binding licensing conditions and now the WV House Judiciary Committee has agreed to push the legislation forward.

Originally set at 10%, the new proposed tax law will see operators pay 15% as a result of the renegotiation in the Committee.

However, the Committee didn’t alter any of the other pillars of the bill, including the proposed license fee nor their period.

Licenses will still cost $250,000 (far less than Pennsylvania where they can reach $10 million) and a renewal fee would need to be paid every five years to the amount of $100,000.

A Controlled Expansion of Sports Betting in WV

So far, WV doesn’t plan on pushing with multiple properties state-wide. Legislators want to establish a vibrant industry and make sure that tax revenue is gathered. With this in mind, only four brands would be allowed to operate in the state, including:

  • Hollywood Casino
  • Mountaineer Racetrack
  • Casino and Delaware
  • Greenbrier Resort

The bill will indeed focus on land-based operations and try to concentrate power in the hands of the aforementioned, but this doesn’t preclude the existence of other operations.

For example, there will be special licenses for companies that want to pursue online gaming independent of the land-based properties. This will come with a fair priced license and renewal fee at $100,000 each.

The renewal fee will have to be paid every year as opposed to what land-based properties are paying. An interesting addition to the bill is that everyone who wants to be employed in the sector will need to acquire an occupational license priced at $100.

In the United Kingdom, for example, regulators are not hesitating to go after individual people as well as company licenses if they suspect that customers have been mislead on purpose.

The introduction of a license would give business accountability and thus bolster player security. H 2934 is not the only bill presently trying to alter the spots betting climate in the state for the better.

H 2178 was another initiative put forth by Rep. Shawn Fluharty and Joe Canestraro in January. In its outline, the bill tries to change the 1931 Code of West Virginia to allow online gaming and casinos in the state.

Aran Malik

“Magic Malik”—as we like to call him—is not only a tech whiz but a wizard when it comes to getting obscure news hot off the press so we know exactly what’s happening and can explore and report it back to our growing and loyal readerbase.