In West Virginia, Governor Jim Justice (pictured) has reportedly announced that he does not intend to veto a measure earlier ratified by both chambers of the state’s legislature that could bring sportsbetting to ‘The Mountain State’.
According to a report from The Intelligencer newspaper, Senate Bill 51 has been designed to allow West Virginia’s four casinos encompassing the Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Racetrack, the Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort, the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races and the Mardi Gras Casino and Resort to offer sports wagering in exchange for agreeing to pay a 10% tax on their sportsbetting revenues.
The newspaper reported that the legislation is to only be enacted following a positive outcome in the Christie v NCAA federal lawsuit currently being considered by the United States Supreme Court and would also permit the 710-room The Greenbrier luxury mountain resort in the south of the state, which is owned by billionaire Justice, to offer sports wagering.
As a caveat, the Republican governor reportedly stated that he intends to ask legislators via a special session to partner with major American sports leagues such as the National Basketball Association (NBA) should the United States Supreme Court legalize sportsbetting nationwide in order ‘to address any provisions of the legislation that might be in conflict’.
“I believe there could be real value to this partnership,” 66-year-old Justice reportedly told The Intelligencer. “I expect the [United States] Supreme Court to rule on this issue in the next few months. This approach will allow us to develop a relationship with all the major sports leagues so that it is beneficial to everyone.”
The newspaper reported that the NBA had earlier teamed up with Major League Baseball to criticize Senate Bill 51 as ‘flawed’ and urge Justice to use his veto powers. But, Mike Bass, Communications Executive Vice-President for the NBA, purportedly detailed that his group was now ready to work with West Virginia legislators so as ‘to add necessary and critical safeguards to the law’.
“We will work with all relevant parties on amendments that will protect consumers and the integrity of sports,” reportedly read a statement from Bass.