A sports betting bill on the table in West Virginia continues to move forward.
For decades, the sports betting industry in the United States has stayed the same. When the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was passed into law in 1992, it restricted sports betting in the US, leading to only four states having the ability to offer such gaming options, after being grandfathered in. Nevada has been the only state to be able to provide quality sports betting options in that time frame, but that could soon change.
New Jersey has started to fight the PASPA, hoping to see the act deemed unconstitutional and sports betting be allowed across the nation. The state has taken their Christie vs. NCAA case to the United States Supreme Court, with a decision set to be made in the coming months. In preparation, several states have been reviewing sports betting legalities or creating legislation that is currently being considered. States that pass sports betting measures into law will be ready to act if SCOTUS rules in favor of New Jersey.
West Virginia Bill Moves Forward
SB 415 was introduced just a short time ago in the state of West Virginia and continues to make headway. Less than a week ago, the bill was passed in the Senate and now has already moved past the House Finance Committee. The bill will not be voted on by the full chamber of the House with the potential to move to the Governor’s desk soon.
The bill would place the State Lottery Commission in charge of sports betting regulation, including having the ability to authorize mobile wagering as well as online options. Players will have to be a bit older in the state to take part, with the minimum age being set at 20.
The state has five gambling facilities currently in operation with the bill allowing these venues to offer sports betting if they so choose. A five year license will have to be acquired with a price tag as high as $100,000. A 10% tax has been set on gross wagering revenues to be paid to the state.
Continuing to Gain Ground
The bill in West Virginia has literally came out of nowhere and has surprisingly been successful in moving forward. Just this week, the House committee accepted the senate bill in its entirety, even though there was an effort to prohibit such wagering on mobile applications and stop collegiate athlete performance from being wagered on.
Lottery Commission Chief Accountant Paul Barrett, took time during the meeting to pitch support for the measure, stating that the casinos in operation would benefit from the sports betting addition. Barrett pointed out that sports betting legalization would cut back on illegal sports bets and help to increase revenues for the state.
It has been estimated that if sports betting were to be legalized in West Virginia, it would bring in at least $182 million in revenues as well as up to $315 million in a year’s time. The Lottery Commission believes that within the first year, the state would see around $5 million in tax payments.
For now, the bill has to move through the full House vote in order to reach the governors desk. If the bill is passed, it would be up to the governor to sign the measure into law. With passage, the state would be ready to offer sports betting if the Supreme Court decides to rule the PASPA unconstitutional. A lot of if’s remain, but there is potential to see WV join the other states ready to see sports betting made available.