Last Wednesday, March 27th, West Virginia officially became the fifth state to legalize online gambling across the state. After Governor Jim Justice failed to act on the House Bill 2934, the bill became law after the 15-day timeframe had passed without the Governor vetoing or signing the bill. Regardless of how it panned out, the end result is legal online gambling and online poker across the state.
- Gov. Jim Justice let House Bill 2934 pass into law.
- Online gambling and poker are expected to enter the Mountain State by 2021.
- West Virginia sports betting turmoil smoothing out in the coming period.
How Will Online Gambling Look Like in West Virginia?
Following the set examples of previous states, West Virginia online gambling licenses are expected to be awarded in the same number as the legal land-based casino establishments. The five casinos currently operating on the state that qualify for interactive gambling permits are:
- Mardi Gras Casino & Resort
- Wheeling Island Hotel
- Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races
- The Casino Club at the Greenbrier
- Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort
License Fees and Taxes
Each of these will be able to cater to customers aged 21 or more, as long as they successfully apply and get licensed for a one-time fee of $250,000. According to the recent official legislation, renewal is set every five years at a flat fee of $100,000.
The state authority will additionally charge licenses for platform and service management at the same fee amount, while suppliers can obtain a license at $10,000 each. Nevertheless, the state budget is expected to benefit from the tax imposed on online gambling revenue, set at a 15% rate.
Online Gambling Timeframe
State Lottery Director, John Myers stated that online gambling in the state would most likely launch sometime in February 2021 after the distractions of the US presidential elections have passed. Based on prior experience with online sports betting, the state was able to get the industry in motion shortly after the Supreme Court’s decision last May.
If they manage to keep up the same efficiency, players should expect to see at least one online casino from each of the five licensees. Should they authorize multiple skins for each licensee, there is a good chance players could enjoy gameplay on foreign platforms as well.
West Online Gambling – Recent Changes & Future Projections
Each of the above-listed casinos in the state has at least one or more sports betting partnerships in place, which would indicate some stability in this regard. However, recent disagreements in their internal lines have drastically disrupted the flow of online sports betting practices.
Online Sports Betting Turmoil
Mardi Grass and Wheeling Island practically suspended their land-based and online sports betting activities, as well as those via BetLucky West Virginia.
An official letter addressed to the Legal Sports Report on March 19th explained the incident to be a result of some turmoil between the casino’s platform provider Miomni and their third-party vendor, Entergaming.
Despite the bad timing, West Virginia retail and online sports betting is expected to get back on its tracks soon enough. Current issues could rock the boat for shared poker player pools, but positive projections still indicate great things for the future legal online player pool.
Five US States That Have Legalized Online Gambling
West Virginia is set to become only the fifth state in line to formally legalize online gambling. This move, through the appropriate voting sessions in the House and the Senate, as well as the Governor’s approval, was made on the basis of efforts from four other states that paved the way towards legal online gambling in the US. Here’s how things stand for US online gambling markets:
The Silver State was the first in line to formally enforce a law that legalized online gambling practices, online poker to be exact. On April 30, 2013, the state of Nevada saw their first legal online poker platform come to life.
Since then, a number of companies and brands offer such services, while online casino and sports betting are still illegal across its territory.
Residents of this state have one of the healthiest online gambling industries across the US. What started off as a small entertainment industry of three land-based establishments has now turned into a fully fledged online gambling market.
Players can enjoy online slot games and table games, sports betting, and poker. More so, for the purposes of a greater poker player pool, the states of Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey entered into a shared poker pool for ultimate player satisfaction.
Speaking of the third shared-poker-pool state, New Jersey legalized online gambling back in February 2013, with the first casino setting up two months later. Four years after that, on October 13, 2017, Governor Chris Christie officially announced the shared poker player pool deal, bringing in further market progress and expansion.
Pennsylvania is the fourth to have officially legalized online gambling. Although it took state legislators until 2017 to officially pass a bill for legal online gambling in the state, they have since managed to regulate it vastly.
Nowadays, online sports betting, poker, and casino platforms are all legal, with the latter two waiting for the rollout of the latest turmoil due to the re-interpretation of the Wire Act that appeared earlier this year.
The latest “silent approval” of the West Virginia Governor saw the Mountain State line up for the fifth position in the list of states to legalize online gambling. They too are expected to follow the current principles of licensing online brands linked to land-based establishments in the state, but the final result is yet to come.