March 13, 2024 3 min read

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Revised Bill in West Virginia Alters Landscape of Gambling Data Sharing

The bill's focus and the role of West Virginia University within it have been reshaped by an amendment proposed by the Senate Judiciary Committee

What began as a legislative initiative aimed at studying problem gambling in West Virginia has evolved into a bill with broader implications for the state’s gambling landscape. The West Virginia Legislature recently approved a bill that not only allows West Virginia University (WVU) to delve into gambling data but also mandates an expansion of educational programs related to the gaming industry.

West Virginia Legislature Shifts Focus from Problem Gambling to Industry Impact

Initially introduced by two members of the West Virginia House of Delegates, the bill, known as HB5668, sought to analyze problem gambling by requiring gambling licensees to share player activity data with researchers at WVU. This data would have been utilized by the West Virginia Department of Human Services to assess the prevalence and impact of problem gambling in the state, with annual reports submitted to the legislature.

However, the approved version of the bill has undergone significant revisions. An amendment proposed by the Senate Judiciary Committee has reshaped the bill’s focus and WVU’s role within it. While researchers at WVU will still have access to gambling data, gambling operators are no longer obligated to share this information. Instead, the responsibility falls on the researchers to seek out the data they require.

Moreover, the amended bill shifts the preparation of annual reports from the Department of Human Services to the West Virginia Lottery. The scope of these reports has also been broadened, now encompassing not just problem gambling but also the economic impact of various forms of gambling, innovations in gaming technology, and policy proposals.

Controversial Changes in Gambling Bill Spark Concerns Among Responsible Gambling Advocates

These changes have not been without controversy. Advocates for responsible gambling expressed dissatisfaction with the amendments, fearing that the bill’s original intent to address problem gambling may have been diluted.

Despite concerns voiced by advocacy groups, the bill passed both chambers of the legislature and now awaits Gov. Jim Justice‘s signature to become law. If signed, WVU will be tasked with developing or expanding educational programs to prepare students for careers in gaming-related fields such as hospitality management, entertainment, and gaming operations.

The bill’s proponents argue that it positions WVU as a key player in the gaming industry on the East Coast, potentially elevating the university’s status in the field of gaming-related education.

As West Virginia awaits the governor’s decision, the implications of this bill for the state’s gambling industry and its educational landscape remain to be seen.

Author

Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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