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Heidi Specter February 25, 2019 3 min read
WV Sports Betting Bill Progress to Senate
H 2934 in West Virginia Continues Despite DOJ
At the beginning of this year, many speculated that 2019 will see a rapid expansion of legal sports betting across the United States. They were right. Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Kentucky, and many more have all launched themselves into exploring the possibility of legalizing the sports betting segment on their home turf.
West Virginia has been one of the strongest supporters of the post-PASPA order and the passing of the H 2934 that would potentially legalize sports betting as well as online poker and iGaming products is the living proof.
Following a successful vote in the house, the bill, officially labeled West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act is on its way to the Senate where a number of committees will look into it.
Should the Senate clear the legislation, then it would be up to Governor Jim Justice to sign the bill into law or sent it back for last-minute patching up if he finds anything off with the document.
The Bill Is Worth It
West Virginia’s sports betting bill is quite a comprehensive document indeed. It doesn’t focus solely on sports betting but tries to push the whole bundle of iGaming and poker products along with it.
This is an important distinction from many other states which, so far, have been trying to feed their lawmakers to a gradual adoption of sports betting and iGaming. West Virginia would rather not waste time.
With 15% in tax and $250,000 per license, there’s sufficient incentive for the state to act on all of these activities in the short-term and reap the benefits in the long-term. Not only is West Virginia on its way to push out casinos and sportsbooks, but it could also join New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware, and Pennsylvania as the fifth state to legalize online poker.
With Pennsylvania a little late to the party, and now concerned about the Wire Act, things have been moving along nevertheless.
The Wire Act is now threatening to undo much of the progress many states have hoped to achieve, but West Virginia is not daunted by the possible suspension of all inter-state online gambling.
Opposition Grows Against DOJ’s Wire Act
One of the reasons why West Virginia is pushing ahead is because several states have already challenged what many describe as the Department of Justice’s frivolous re-interpretation of the Wire Act.
In fact, New Hampshire has launched a lawsuit challenging the ruling. New Jersey and Pennsylvania have openly said that they suspected the reasoning behind the new Opinion and that would seek to formally challenge it in court, though New Hampshire definitely didn’t mince words and jumped straight into action instead.
It’s in this context that West Virginia is pushing ahead with its betting legislation. Given the strong support in the House, it’s very likely that the Senate’s committees would prove no problem.