The National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS) is composed of legislators from American states that allow live casinos, online poker, esports, and sports gambling. It is a nonprofit organization whose objective is to research and educate the public about gaming laws.
The NCLGS doesn't promote betting. However, states pondering on allowing various types of gambling can get vital information from the council's members.
West Virginia (WV) Delegate Shawn Fluharty is the NCLGS' new president. Still, he loves playing poker. The lawmaker played a key role in campaigning for the legalization and control of online gaming and online poker in the state in 2019.
Fluharty comprehends the basics of iGaming and online poker. This makes him the right individual to educate people about them.
How Is Online Poker Fairing in West Virginia?
Fluharty's state doesn't offer online poker to its residents directly. It allows the game, but West Virginia lacks specific local poker operators despite Fluharty's lobbying support for poker in 2019.
The lawmaker collaborated with Delegate Jason Barrett to advocate for the formation of the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act. The proposed constitutional amendment gave the WV Lottery Commission the mandate to regulate online gaming and issue five-year casino licenses that would cost gaming operators $250,000.
This would require an online poker operator to partner with one local brick-and-mortar casino to offer poker. State lawmakers passed the law on March 9, 2019. Governor Jim Justice opposed it but failed to veto it, thus making it applicable from June 9, 2019.
Even so, the state's Lottery Commission didn't rush to form an online gaming regulatory framework as the first online casinos launched in 2020.
The World Series of Poker (WSOP) and PokerStars were some of the prominent poker operators, and many players expected they would soon venture into the state's poker market.
Instead, BetMGM hastily teamed up with Greenbrier to offer casino games. Yet, the gaming operator didn't rush to offer poker. Besides, no poker operator has shown interest in offering online poker in West Virginia.
The state has a small poker market, hence requiring any interested online poker operator to be patient before they start making huge profits. Reports indicate that casino games generate most of its online gaming revenue.
It is prudent for a poker operator to join the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) to share other states' player pools. Companies like BetMGM, WSOP, and PokerStars can merge their WV platforms with those in Michigan and New Jersey to get significant returns after incurring the startup and licensing costs.
Michigan joined the gaming agreement in 2022. However, Pennsylvania and West Virginia didn't sign the deal despite WV Lottery officials getting the agreement's copy when Michigan signed it.
Fluharty's Influence in the NCLGS
Many gaming analysts are keenly monitoring Fluharty's performance in the NCLGS. Some of them believe that his experience interacting with various state representatives will help him influence non-gaming states to legalize it.