West Virginia Pushes for Online Gambling, Again

West Virginia Pushes for Online GamblingIn another attempt to make online gambling legal to their state residents, West Virginia lawmakers have recently put forward a third bill. This is the third year in a row that legal representatives have been working towards enlisting West Virginia among states that allow legal online gambling practices.

Specifics of the New Legislation

State Representative Shawn Fluharty

Rep. Shawn Fluharty

The newly proposed legislation is a bill known as HB 2178, introduced by the State Representative Shawn Fluharty. The bill would ultimately legalize both online poker and online casino gambling services under the five existing retail casino brands of the state.

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

In order to operate online gambling platforms properly, the casino brands would have to pay a licensing fee amounting to $50,000, along with a gross gaming revenue tax of 14%. Compared to the fines for operators providing illegal gambling services at online portals, the fees for application, legalization, and operations are not that high.

What Makes This New Bill Different?

West Virginia Delegate Joe Canestraro

Rep. Joe Canestraro

The bill has additionally received sponsorship and deserved support from another Democratic delegate, Joe Canestraro. While previous attempts at bill propositions have been somewhat similarly supported, they have all fallen through before reaching the voting procedures at either House or Senate.

However, hopes are up this year, as the provisions of the bill could be supported by the ones that had introduced legal sports betting in West Virginia last year.

Legal Sports Betting

West Virginia was among the first to take actions after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last May that struck down the anti-sports gambling law. With the annulment of the PASPA Act, sports betting has been handled as an individual matter in each state’s legal authorities.

The aforementioned land-based casino establishments so far represent the bulk of gambling destinations in the state, recently incorporating sports betting services to their existing floor. Now, should the bill pass, they would additionally be in charge of the online gambling platforms.

New Industry Service

The actual matter of online gambling licenses will be handled by the state’s existing Lottery Commission. Potential software companies such as GAN would fall under their authoritative umbrella. With proper and optimized operations, the company could deliver “thousands of significant contributions” to the state budget, as the bill reads.

What’s Next for Online Gambling in West Virginia?

Should the HB 2178 bill obtain sufficient support, it would rank the state as the fifth administration to introduce legal online casino and poker services. With Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey residents enjoying such privileges since 2013, and Pennsylvania residents preparing for the ultimate release in the first months of 2019, the time is just about right for eager West Virginians.

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