West Virginia Considers Online Gambling AdaptationPublished September 1, 2014 by Lee R
Land-based competition from other states encourages early online adaptation.
West Virginia is the latest state to consider a revenue boost from online gambling. West Virginia's state revenues have fallen sufficiently to spur consideration, and a new concern has arisen regarding competition for online gambling revenues from other states. Indeed, a ground floor mentality may be percolating among states, where the earliest states to accept online gambling stand to enjoy the most secure market and latest revenue benefits from gambling overall.
Sign of the Times
The possibility announced this week by the West Virginia Gambling Commission suggests adaptation to the times, in a state that has imposed smoking bans at land casinos and is already experiencing a large exodus of players from land-based to online gaming within the state as it is.
Other new physical deterrents from land-based wagering include logistical factors such as the introduction of widescale “pay at the pump” gas stations across the state which eliminate the physical activity of drivers walking into gas stations to pay for gas, with gas station registers being a traditionally popular spot for drivers to buy state lottery tickets.
Competition from Other States
As for competition for general gambling revenues from other states, West Virginia Lottery Director John Musgrave identifies Maryland and Ohio as states where new casinos are currently potentially biting into West Virginia's land-based gambling revenues, representing growth and competition to West Virginia that has yet to plateau, and clearly requires some kind of response from West Virginia.
“We’re still exploring online gaming because we feel that’s the way the industry’s moving, so we want to plan for it. We have not yet made any decision for how we’re going to implement it, but we are looking at it, studying it and seeing how our casinos in our jurisdiction can move in that direction,” Musgrave clarified.
State Lottery Revenues Drop
At this point, Musgrave has attributed a 4% drop in state lottery intake as the prime source of concern in large part attributable to a 5% drop in casino lottery sales annually, a widening chasm that could be filled and potentially surpassed with the introduction of online gaming in the state.