West Virginia is set to consider the legalization of online gambling
March 17, 2017
In a move that is becoming common in many states, West Virginia is set to consider the legalization of online gambling in March. State legislators introduced HB 3607 on March 14. The measure would open the door to online poker, casinos, and horse betting for West Virginia residents.
Many states including Pennsylvania and Montana currently have gambling legislation before state lawmakers. States are hoping to replicate the success of Nevada and New Jersey. Those states are now several years into legalized online casinos, and the move has paid off big in the form of tax and licensing revenues.
HB 3607 calls on the state to permit the West Virginia Lottery Commission to oversee online gambling. In other states, local casinos are tasked with providing online gambling platforms. An interesting measure of HB 3607 is that it also permits West Virgina to enter into interstate agreements with other states like New Jersey that allow online betting. In theory, this could permit West Virgina players to register accounts with New Jersey-based online casinos.
This measure continues West Virginia's progressive approach toward gambling. Last month, legislators also proposed a bill that would allow limited forms of sports betting. For several years now, West Virginia has also permitted racinos. These are small casinos that are operated at local racetracks and offer video poker and other electronic games.
What the state stands to gain from this bill is added state revenue. The license to operate an online casino would cost $50,000 and operators would also be required to remit a 14% tax on gross gaming revenues. If West Virginia duplicates the success of New Jersey, this could add up to millions which can be used to shore up the state's economy.