Several states have seemingly decided that 2017 is the year to try and pass online gambling legislation. The latest state to introduce legislation pertaining to the subject is West Virginia. Earlier this week, H.B. 3067 was introduced for consideration and would see online gambling operations legalized and regulated within the state.
The bill is sponsored by Delegate Shawn Fluharty and co-sponsored by four other Delegates; Mike Pushkin, Mike Bates, Sean Hornbuckle and Joseph Canestrato. The purpose of the new measure is to authorize online gaming that will be managed and licensed via existing gaming facilities that already offer gaming in the state.
The West Virginia Lottery Commission would be in charge of regulating the industry with a 14% tax rate placed on gross gaming revenues. Race tracks and gaming facilities that are licensed in the state will be able to apply for a license to provide iGaming for a $50,000 fee. This amount is relatively low considering that other states are asking for several million dollars to be paid by operators in licensing fees.
Within the language of the new measure, there were also regulations in place for operators of land-based venues who want to offer online gaming sites. The operator has to ensure that all players taking part are 21 years of age and that they are physically located in the state. Geolocation tools will be needed to ensure the location of the participants.
Operators will also have to put gaming protocols in place in order to minimize any problem gambling issues and ensure that games are kept honest and fair. Operating funds must also be separated from player funds as has become the standard with online casino and poker gaming along with daily fantasy sports regulations in other states.
It will be interesting to see how the legislation will be received in the state. We may find that West Virginia is a dark horse and moves forward as the next state to pass legislation to approve online poker and casino gaming in the US.