Just a short time ago, the state of West Virginia approved online gambling legislation. After the approval, the process continues with the creation of a regulatory framework for the new industry. In West Virginia, the Lottery Director, John Myers, is very pleased with the progress of the framework and how the industry is starting to take shape.
In the state, online sports betting is in full force, with the first online sportsbook launching back in February. However, a vendor issue caused the online option to shut down. It would not be until August when sports betting would be back online.
With online casino gaming, the state is being a bit cautious and ensuring that all steps are taken properly so no issues like what happened with sports betting will occur. According to Myers, the State Lottery compared notes with Pennsylvania officials to figure out how to move forward with online casino gaming regulation. Pennsylvania launched iGaming back in summer and have since seen great success with the new industry.
Myers stated that Pennsylvania are set up in a similar fashion to how they are and the state felt a sense of relief that they are going in the right direction. Once online gambling was legalized in the state, lawmakers put the State Lottery to work in the design and implementation of the rules for the new industry. Officials were given about a year to create the preliminary framework for regulations.
It is expected that that emergency rules will be ready by summer of next year. If the previously set time frame of May to June remains, then officials will have enough time to create a permanent rule and move beyond the legislative session and file permanent rules.
Officials can take up until July 1st of 2020 to introduce the emergency regulations. However, they do seem to be ahead of that deadline.
Details of Online Gambling
Based on the new law, the five land-based casinos in West Virginia can offer online gambling services to players within the state’s borders. The casinos can create partnerships with online gaming operators as well as providers of platforms.
Casinos interested will need to pay an online gaming license application fee of $250,000. This will be for five year licensing. The renewal fee is $100,000. The online casinos will be taxed at 15% which is a bit higher than the sports betting tax of 10%. According to Myers, iGaming should generate a similar amount of revenue as sports betting.
So far, the retail sportsbooks in West Virginia have taken in $12.8 million. Online sports betting has accounted for an additional $4.9 million. The work already completed in the sports betting sector certainly helped the operator to begin the set up process of their online casino gaming operations.
According to Myers, with the initial build-out of the online gaming system in place, the new games can essentially come in a suite and be placed on top of the sports wagering style platform.