West Virginia Becomes 5th US State to Legalize iGaming
Summary: West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed a bill into law last week that legalizes online gambling in the state.
In 2013, three states started offering online gambling services, Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada. The three states have legalized online casino and/or poker gaming, having been quite successful in the online gambling industry since. In late 2017, Pennsylvania became the next state to legalize online gambling within their borders. Now, it seems West Virginia has joined the list of states in the US that offers online casino and poker gaming.
Bill Signed Into Law
The West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act quickly moved through the House and Senate to hit the Governor’s desk in late March. The bill moved through the House first back in February and then the Senate, after a few amendments were made. The House then reviewed the changes and decided to approve the bill once again.
Once the bill reached the desk of Governor Jim Justice in late March, it would not be long before the measure would be signed into law. Also known as H 2934, the bill is now law, making West Virginia the 5th state to legalize online casino and poker gaming.
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What’s to Come?
With the passage of the bill, it will still be some time before the new industry will be operational in the state. The bill just managed to make the cut before the state legislature adjourned last month. Players 21 years of age or older will eventually have access to casino and poker games online, once services are launched.
The five land-based casinos of the state will be able to offer interactive gambling, with five permits available. These venues include the Hollywood Casino which is located at Charles Town Races, the Mountaineer Casino, Wheeling Island, The Casino Club and the Mardi Gras Casino.
To take part, the casinos must pay up $250,000 for an interactive license. The license will be good for a five-year time frame. Once the five years is up, the operator will have to pay a renewal fee of $100,000. This is to be paid along with $100,000 for platform and service management licensing. Supplier licenses have a cost of $10,000.
The state will earn 15% of gross gaming revenues based on the set tax rate.
How the online gambling industry in the state will be set up exactly is still anyone’s guess. The West Virginia Lottery is in charge of the new industry and must put regulations in place. If the decision is to operate the online casino and poker operations similar to online sports betting in the state, then operators would be allowed to have three mobile skins per license holder.
The process of allowing online gambling to begin in the state will be ongoing for some time. Rules and regulations will have to be put in place and the land-based casinos will need to apply for licensing. The license holders will also need to set up partnerships for their online gambling services, which will take some time.
In most states that offer online gambling, the iGaming partners of the facilities must also be reviewed during the application process. We can easily assume that the land-based casinos that want to offer online gambling in West Virginia will now look to build successful partnerships with top operating companies.
Who each casino will partner with is anyone’s guess. However, it would not be surprising to find that familiar faces are in the mix as the operators find reputable companies to work with in getting started with online gambling. We will continue to monitor the progress and report as new information is provided.