March 4, 2024 2 min read


West Virginia Seeks to Protect Sports Athletes from Harassment

A bipartisan proposal that was recently referred to the state Senate plans to safeguard athletes and sports officials from harassment by bettors

The statewide expansion of sports betting allowed bettors across the country to gain access to a legal form of wagering on sports. While sports aficionados and gamblers alike enjoy a legal market, states that have legalized the activity benefit from tax revenue that helps fund different educational programs and statewide initiatives. Yet, amid the expansion, fears about the integrity of collegiate and professional sports, as well as abuse against athletes by bettors, continue to rise.

In Ohio, after an incident with disgruntled bettors, lawmakers have taken a firm stance against such abuse. As a result, the state’s legislators passed a bill that aimed at banning bettors who harassed professional athletes, sports officials or coaches. A similar proposal is also gaining traction in neighboring West Virginia, where lawmakers will have until March 9, 2024, to pass a proposal during this legislative session.

The bipartisan bill, House Bill 4700 (HB 4700), is titled “Banning certain persons from sport wagering activities,” and proposes to restrict people who show harmful behavior toward athletes or sports officials from betting. The bill’s primary sponsor is Del. Shawn Fluharty. However, HB 4700 also enjoys support from Del. Diana Winzenreid, Del. Jarred Cannon, as well as Del. Sean Hornbuckle.

Under the proposal, the Lottery Commission in West Virginia would be permitted to enforce bans against certain bettors. This would apply to people who have demonstrated harassment toward athletes or sports officials either via in-person events or through online communication.

The purpose of this bill is to allow the Lottery Commission to ban persons from sports betting who have harassed or shown a harmful pattern of conduct directed at any person involved in a sporting event,

reads House Bill 4700

The Proposal Gains Traction

The proposal that seeks to protect sports officials and athletes was introduced in mid-January in the West Virginia House. Ultimately, the bill gained much traction last week after it was read for the second and third time, before passing the House with overwhelming approval. A total of 90 votes supported the proposal, while nine lawmakers abstained, and one cast a vote against the bill.

Clearing the House on February 28, HB 4700 was introduced to the Senate on Thursday. The proposal was subsequently referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where it will seek further support and approval. With a tight timeframe, lawmakers in West Virginia will have until March 9 to greenlight the aforementioned proposal.


William Velichkov is a research-driven writer. His strengths lie in ensuring factual accuracy, vetting government documentation and reaching out to regulators and other officials. He is particularly fond of financial reporting, the sports betting industry, B2B partnerships and esports betting developments. William is a strong asset to the GamblingNews team as he adds a bedrock to our reporting.

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