West Virginia Lawmaker Wants In On Online Gaming Action

by Kyle Miller

With Pennsylvania passing online gaming legislation in the House and Senate, one West Virginia lawmaker wants his state to follow suit.

This week has been a busy one for the online gaming industry of the United States. The Pennsylvania state Senate was able to pass a gambling package on Wednesday and the House followed suit on Thursday. The package is now ready for Governor Tom Wolf’s approval so the state can become the 4th in the US to offer online gambling for real money. Several other states have been on the road to passing online gaming legislation and could follow suit based on the progress seen within Pennsylvania.

West Virginia

Shawn FluhartyOf the states considering online gaming legislation includes West Virginia. Efforts have been made to see the state become involved in the industry, but like other states, movement of legislation is slow going. Shawn Fluharty is a lawmaker of the state who commented recently on social media that the action by Pennsylvania this week should be momentum for West Virginia to get on the ball. According to Fluharty, his state needs to act during this session or be left in the dust.

Offering online gaming would be smart for the state as neighboring states like Maine have taken away from casino revenues of WV facilities. The five casinos in operation in West Virginia earned just over $638 million last year but this was 2.6% less than the revenue earnings from the previous year. By offering gaming, West Virginia could gain a solid foothold in the industry before other states become involved.

Pennsylvania Paving the Way

Since 2013, there have only been three states to offer online gaming for real money; New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada. For years now, we have watched as states like Pennsylvania has created legislation for iGaming only to see efforts fail to move forward. It seems that now Pennsylvania is on the right track and will be ready to offer online gaming within a year.

Talks have yet to surface of Pennsylvania becoming involved in interstate gaming, like Nevada and Delaware have been doing for some time and what New Jersey just recently joined in with. The state is quite large, so the population could help to increase traffic in the other states that offer online gaming.

With Pennsylvania finally passing legislation, it could be the tipping point for other states to follow suit. Michigan, Illinois and Massachusetts are among the list of states showing interest in the online gaming industry. It seems that most were just waiting for someone to take the leap and hopefully more will begin to take the plunge.

It would not be surprising to see other states move ahead with legislation if there is still time. Once Pennsylvania gets rolling with their online offerings, many other states should follow suit, at least when the 2018 legislative session begins. There is much to gain from offering online gaming options, as players are already taking part in the activity within unregulated markets. With legislation and regulation in place, states will be able to provide consumers with a safe place to enjoy gaming online plus reap the monetary rewards.

Everyone is waiting with baited breath to see the governor sign the bill into law. It will be interesting to watch in the coming weeks if any additional efforts are made by other states to join Pennsylvania in becoming the next to offer online gaming in the US.