West Virginia Introduces First Bill on Internet Gambling

West Virginia Introduces First Bill on Internet Gambling

Staff Writer
March 20, 2017
West Virginia legislators propose first online gambling bill.

West Virginia legislators are about to write history with the recent introduction of the state’s first bill on online gambling.

Known as House Bill 3067, it will not only legalise but also regulate online gambling in the Mountain State, setting the procedures and policies for licensing online operators, and other legal matters concerning this issue.

Men behind this Bill are delegates Shawn Fluharty, Sean Hornbuckle, Mike Pushkin, Joseph Canestraro and Mike Bates, who in a joint statement said the law would regulate Internet gaming through existing facilities, with West Virginia Lottery Commission in charge of the entire process.

Implementation of the Bill

Gaming facilities and race tracks, which are already licensed, are going to be able to apply for an online gambling license. All they need to do is pay the fee of $50,000, with the tax rate being 14% of the GGR.

Bill also specifies the steps operators need to take if they wish to move to online gambling, which are pretty much what you’ll find in similar legal acts across the United States.

The participants have to be 21 years of age and from a jurisdiction which allows online gambling (since the gaming between two states will be allowed), while it’s stipulated the issue of problem gambling will have to be dealt with and minimised.

There are also measures preventing the misuse of player funds and cheating. Fines range from $75,000 to $150,000, for misdemeanours, up to three years in prison and $150,000-$300,000 for felony charges.

Not a New Idea

The idea of regulating gambling operations online dates back from 2014, and appeared as means to increase the competitiveness of West Virginia casinos against nearby states. In the meantime, the revenues dropped more than 10% in State’s brick and mortar casinos. The response this time had to be more decisive and the latest proposal is the result of the efforts to improve its market positions.

As Morgan Stanley earlier reported, West Virginia has the chance to become one of only 20 states where online poker is legalised and regulated, but the whole legal affair leading to the Bill’s adoption could last up to three years.



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