New Online Gambling Bill Introduced in West VirginiaPublished March 20, 2017 by Elana K
On March 14, Delegate Shawn Fluharty and others introduced HB 3067, a bill that would legalize and regulate online gambling under the supervision of the West Virginia Lottery Commission.
West Virginia has come out with a new bill that would legalize online gambling, thus adding its name to the growing list of states who are realizing the benefits of the burgeoning industry. On March 14, Delegate Shawn Fluharty and others introduced HB 3067, a bill that would legalize and regulate online gambling under the supervision of the West Virginia Lottery Commission.
This is not West Virginia’s first foray into the world of online gambling; the state’s lottery directors have been exploring the possibility since 2014.
About the Bill
HB 3067 includes a tax rate of 14 percent of gross gaming revenue and a licensing fee of $50,000, a number which is considered low when compared to other states. Only gaming facilities and race tracks that are currently licensed will be allowed to apply for licenses.
The bill also includes regulations for land-based operators to offer online gaming. Operators must make sure that participants are 21, that they are located within state borders, and that gaming protocols to ensure fair gaming are in place. Additionally, operators would be required to keep player funds and operating funds in separate accounts (standard practice among online casinos worldwide).
Should the bill be passed into law, unlawful gaming offenses would be punished with fines ranging anywhere between $75-150,000, misdemeanors, felonies, and prison time.
Revival of Traditional Casinos
West Virginia traditional casino revenue has been on the decline over the past few years, which is why the state's lottery directors started exploring online gambling. It is hoped that online gambling might be the ticket to reviving the declining casino industry and breathing new life into the state.
Joining the Party
West Virginia joins Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, California, New York, and others as a serious contender for becoming the next state to legalize online gambling. Currently, only three states allow internet gambling: New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada.