West Virginia closes in on sports betting

News on 7 Aug 2018

The West Virginia Lottery Commission has filed legislative rules for public comment with the Secretary of State’s Office regarding sports betting, taking the process of legalisation a step further.

The filing starts the public comment period and also allows racetracks and casinos to begin the process of setting up its sports betting operations.

Danielle Boyd, managing legal counsel for the state Lottery Commission, told local reporters Monday: “If they were ready to open today and they had all their systems in place, we would certainly have to do some testing, but we would be ready to take bets as that testing would conclude. If it’s the on-property testing, we anticipate that will take only a few days to complete.”

The state Lottery Commission estimates the financial impact of the law will be at least $5.5 million in the 2019 fiscal year.

Boyd said the Hollywood Casino & Inn at Charles Town Races will be the first site in operation, with additional casinos and racetracks to be added during the football season.

She said that the commission’s biggest challenge will be setting up mobile and online betting services. Under the state law, patrons can place bets through phone apps if they are in the state of West Virginia.

“The technology for mobile and online is new to us in West Virginia,” she said. “We’re starting from square one, whereas New Jersey already had online casinos in place, online poker and other casino-style games.”

Boyd said the state Lottery Commission consulted with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement to better understand online betting, adding she hopes to create a network of states with legalized betting.

“We’ve been reaching out to our counterparts in Mississippi, our counterparts in Nevada and Delaware and any other jurisdictions that come on board,” she said. “We’re building a coalition to share information, share licensing information and also share any reporting of suspicious betting or other anomalies that might indicate there’s suspicious activity taking place.”

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