Legislation to legalize sports betting moves forward in West Virginia.
In 2018, the state of West Virginia was the first to legalize sports betting. Lawmaker have now completed the necessary framework, so the industry can get started. Yesterday, the West Virginia Lottery decided to approve emergency regulations for sports betting, with the agency ready to make modifications from now until December as needed. The industry should be ready for operation by the 1st of September.
The regulations created by the Lottery are very detailed and have several pages of information. Basic info of the regulations includes the operators may set up a temporary sports book for up to nine months and each operator is able to set as many as three individually branded platforms up online. The platforms are also known as skins.
An interim license application will allow operators to offer land-based and online sports wagering for 270 days. The betting services can begin as soon as the operator is approved. License holders can set up kiosks that will be used for accepting and settling wagers in locations that have been approved by the Lottery.
Any betting activity that is considered unusual will need to be disclosed by operators to regulators and any activity that is considered suspicious will need to be reported immediately to the regulator. Available wagers as well as rules have to be posted within the sports book and online sites must display a badge for responsible gaming. All advertising has to be approved by the Lottery Director.
Mobile and Online Gaming
For the sports betting industry of West Virginia to be successful, mobile and online gaming are a must. The state is mostly rural country, so gamblers will be able to participate more if online gaming is offered. Regulators seem to be taking a measured stance to regulations involving mobile and online wagering. Wagering has to be offered from a licensee with as many as three suppliers used by the operator.
So, essentially, a casino could have a partner for their land-based sports book and their main digital platform. They could then partner with two additional platform providers to create more sites online. Bettors will be able to create an account for online wagering without having to visit a land-based casino to do so. However, players will have to be located in the state to take part.
Online suppliers of content will need to use geolocation technology to ensure that players are physically in the state. Anyone found to be outside the borders of West Virginia will not be able to take part in wagering.
In the past within other states, skin provisions have been seen as a controversial issue. However, the Lottery is recognizing that there is a commercial value with such partnerships that could take place in the state.
There is no set timeline for launch, but it is believed that the process will move quickly. Danielle Boyd is the Managing Counsel for the Lottery who spoke with Legal Sports Report, stating that the group is optimistic of the timeline and they understand that minimum internal controls will need to be implemented, with the system sand infrastructure that is necessary for wagering to take place will have to be built. According to Boyd, the action should get started around September. If this is the case, then the state’s sports books will be ready to take wagers as the National Football League season begins, along with college football games. This would be the new industry at a prime time when there is much money to be made! It will be exciting to see as the industry unfolds in West Virginia as well as many other states in the US that are currently setting up to offer sports betting.