Online gambling bill introduced in West Virginia

Another attempt to bring regulated, legal online gambling to the state of West Virginia was launched this week. In March 2017, House Bill H3067 was introduced in an attempt to bring online gambling to the state, but it quickly died a quiet death. This week H3067 was resurrected in another attempt to allow regulated and legal online gambling.

The primary sponsor of the bill is Democratic delegate Shawn Fluharty. He’s also received support from co-sponsors Sean Hornbuckle, Mike Pushkin, Joseph Canestrato and Mick Bates.

The crux of the bill is to allow licensed casinos in the state to offer online gambling to state residents within the state’s borders. The bill would also allow for future interstate gambling compacts with other regulated U.S. states to share player liquidity and player pools. Currently the only states to allow online gambling are Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania, and all four have similar provisions in their legislation regarding sharing player liquidity.

All regulation of online gambling would be placed in the hands of the West Virginia Lottery Commission, which already oversees all live casino gaming in the state.

Licensing costs and taxes lower

Under Bill H3067, online gambling operators would have to pay an initial $50,000 licensing fee as well as a 14 percent tax on all gross gaming revenues. That comes in much lower than costs some other states enacted when allowing online gambling, including Pennsylvania, which just last year charged existing casinos a $10-million licensing fee and set a 54 percent tax rate on slots and 16 percent on table games and poker.

Bill H3067 also stated that anyone taking part in online gambling must be 21 years of age or older and physically located within the state of West Virginia.

Anyone hoping to play online poker in West Virginia will have to take a wait-and-see approach on the reintroduced bill. However, it may not take long if it receives similar reaction to the first introduction of the bill last year. Bill H3067 was originally introduced on March 15, 2017, but was declared all but dead two weeks later due to a lack of support.