West Virginia Casinos Will be Afforded Satellite Gaming Locations Under New Legislation

West Virginia Casinos Will be Afforded Satellite Gaming Locations Under New Legislation

Gamblers in West Virginia are happy after a new bill has been tabled to allow satellite casinos. A bill, Senate Bill 100, was proposed last month by Senator Eric Nelson.

The state senator, commonly known as R. Kanawha, said that the bill would permit five casinos in West Virginia to have satellite locations. The satellite in question will be a smaller brick-and-mortar gaming house, provided the location is where the satellite is tethered.

This week, the Senate Finance Committee backed up Senate Bill 100. The tabled legislation has moved to the full Senate floor after receiving support. The bill has already had its first reading.

Eric Nelson has expressed his thoughts on the legislation. He said that allowing the five casinos to have satellite locations will help develop businesses that are not doing so well. Malls will be amongst the struggling businesses that will benefit from the satellite gaming locations.

According to Nelson, the state of malls in West Virginia is unfortunate and embarrassing, and the satellite venues will change that. One of the best shopping malls in Mississippi, Charleston Town, has just one remaining anchor, and several stores are vacant. The situation of the mall is not limited to West Virginia only; several malls across the country are experiencing similar challenges.

This is the second time that Eric Nelson is proposing a bill to have satellite locations for casinos. In 2019, Nelson had the same motion that did not go past his chamber even though he had received support from the House of Delegates. However, things are looking up this year, and the bill has a high chance of success.

The Process of Passing the Bill

Before the bill receives authorization, it will have to undergo various processes. The bill has to receive backing from the two legislative houses. After that, counties housing the five casinos will host ballot polls locally. The referendums aim to gain permission for the satellite gaming locations from the voters.

If the referendum passes, the state and local county will endorse a West Virginia Lottery Commission satellite. In this step, the state will sign off the project and give a concession to the satellite project.

The last step will be for the casino to arrive at a lease agreement with a tenant who will have the gaming operations on their premises. Last year, Hull Property Group purchased the Town Center Mall for $3 million.

The bill only allows one satellite gaming center in one county. Therefore, the five casinos are in five different counties in West Virginia.

The legislation indicates that every mini-casino will have table games, sports betting, slot machines, and pari-mutuel betting on relay racing.

Other States With Satellite Gaming Locations

Having satellite gaming venues in West Virginia comes almost five years after Pennsylvania adopted this method. In 2017, lawmakers in Pennsylvania proposed a similar bill, although they used a different method than West Virginia.

In place of county referendums, Pennsylvania had municipalities and townships choose not to be considered mini-casinos. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board chose suitable centers and then held auction rounds for satellite casinos.

The highest bidder went away with a 15- mile area to construct a gaming venue. Pennsylvania had a total of five auctions for the satellite casinos.

Since 2017, three satellite casino venues have been up and running; Casino Pittsburgh, Hollywood Casino York Live, and Hollywood Casino Morgantown. The first and second venues occupied empty mall anchor shops.

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