Supporters of online gambling will be excited to hear that a new state will be joining Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania in offering legalized and regulated iGaming. The West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act was signed into law last week, permitting online wagering via the five gambling facilities in West Virginia. Governor, Jim Justice, wasted no time in signing the bill, allowing the state to move forward with new gambling opportunities.
The bill, HB 2934, was passed on March 9th. The Governor received it soon after and it would take only a short time for the measure to be signed into law. The bill will be in affect 90 days after passage which will be June 7th.
In West Virginia, the bill now allows the state’s land-based gambling operators to offer several online games including online poker and online casino games. The state becomes the first to legalize online gaming since Pennsylvania did so back in late 2017.
HB 2934 was introduced by Delegate, Jason Barrett, with Delegate, Shawn Fluharty, signing on as a cosponsor. Fluharty has tried for several years to see online gambling come to pass in West Virginia and now the fruits of his labor are finally being seen. The bill was introduced on February 9th and already had several cosponsors, support the bill needed to move forward.
It was able to quickly move through the committee and would have a few amendments in the House. It was received an overwhelming vote of approval in the House when it was considered in early March. Amendments were made in the Senate and after passing there, it was reconsidered in the House and approved.
After gaining the necessary approvals and being signed into law by Governor Justice, there are more steps that need to be taken before the iGaming industry will launch. The West Virginia Lottery Commission will be in charge of the next steps in the process.
Licensing for interactive gaming will cost $250,000 per operator and will be valid for a five year time frame. Every five years a renewal fee of $100,000 will have to be paid. Gross gaming revenues from online gaming activities will be taxed at 15%.
For now, the five land-based casinos in the state can begin to look at what they wish to offer by way of iGaming. The properties able to take part in the new industry include: The Casino Club at Greenbrier, Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, Mardi Gras Casino and Resort, Mountaineer Casino and Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack.