Sports Betting Announcement in West Virginia Makes Headlines

West VirginiaA law involving sports betting in West Virginia has made headlines this week after the state announces plans to not pay an integrity to sports leagues with the legalization of sports betting.

A meeting took place this past Wednesday involving officials within the government of West Virginia, representatives of sports leagues and casino executives. In the meeting, Governor Jim Justice was present and afterwards, held a press conference where it was revealed that the state would not be paying an integrity fee to the sports leagues for operating sports betting within their borders. However, the gaming interests of West Virginia will be paying such a fee to leagues as they offer such services.

Governor Justice stated that he insisted in the meeting that the state will not be paying any such integrity fee to the sports leagues. He demanded that the full fee be paid by casinos. How this would happen remains anyone’s guess. Existing law would have to be changed to set up the payment process and the state lottery would have to be in charge in some manner. Agreements would most likely have to be made between the casinos and the leagues regarding any fees paid.

To Early To Tell

Right now, sports betting is in its infant stages in the US and may not even come to pass across the board, if the United States Supreme Court does not rule against the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in the Christie vs. NCAA case. Early speculation has revealed that two universities in West Virginia, Marshall and West Virginia, could be schools that earn a portion of the sports revenues earned in the state.

It is unclear how such revenues would be provided to the universities, but ESPN is reporting that a tentative agreement in the state would give the colleges a portion of sports betting proceeds. If an agreement is reached, they would be the first NCAA schools to have this type of arrangement.

What’s funny about this entire announcement is that a fee cannot be paid if it is not in existence. In March, state law was passed that authorized West Virginia to offer sports betting services if PASPA is repealed. This legislation does not include an integrity fee. However, Governor Justice left the possibility open for the law to be reconfigured based on the ruling set forth by the Supreme Court in the case involving New Jersey.

So, this opening could be the time when an integrity fee would be inserted into the language of the law. A special session is set to take place in the future, which would be prime time to add the integrity info in. However, exact information on what the fee will be has yet to be revealed.

What is an Integrity Fee?

An integrity fee is what the professional sports leagues have been asking for when talk of sports betting coming to fruition across the United States began. The leagues basically want to be paid for their efforts to uphold the integrity of their sport since the games will now be wagered on. This is something that the leagues should be doing anyways, so many feel this ‘fee’ is just a way for the leagues to make more money.

It will be interesting to see if the state creates language within the bill in the future that sets up such a fee or just how the sports leagues will be paid by the casinos, if the activity can take place in the state. Only time will tell what legislators will decide and just how much operators will have to pay up.