In a reaction to the news that New Jersey has joined Nevada and Delaware in legalising online gambling, West Virginia State Lottery director John Musgrave says the internet is “…the way of the future.”
Speaking to the Charleston Daily Mail this week, Musgrave said that he hoped to convince state lawmakers on the need to consider the online gambling option, saying: “We need to discuss it.”
West Virginia Lottery revenues have dropped off in recent years as new border state casinos have drawn customers from the state’s panhandle casinos, the newspaper reports.
Musgrave said West Virginia has led the way in offering new forms of gambling such as racetrack video lottery and table games, but that the gambling industry and other states are moving rapidly into online gambling products, something that West Virginia leaders have yet to do.
“We’re a little bit behind right now,” Musgrave said. “There’s really going to be a shift in the way that we do business, and we’ve got to participate in that.”
The state lottery director said that lottery officials across the United States believe there are billions of dollars being lost to offshore gambling companies each year.
He claimed that such offshore companies are operating with little regulation or security, and that individual states should take it upon themselves to ensure that secure, regulated options are available domestically.
Lottery finance director Dean Patrick said lottery revenues are running 15.9 percent ahead of forecasts for the current fiscal year. Since July 1, 2012 the Lottery has brought in $765.9 million, well ahead of forecasts of $660.8 million, he revealed.
In related news, the online poker information site Legal Poker Sites reports that Vermont lawmakers could be preparing the ground for intrastate online gambling with the filing of House Bill 186.
The bill, filed by Democratic Party Rep. Clem Bissonnette, proposes the creation of a Vermont Gaming Commission to regulate live gaming in the state, which would include poker halls.
However, Legal Poker Sites speculates that although the bill is land gaming-focused, it could be a useful vehicle in any future move towards online poker or gambling.
H186 is currently is currently on the agenda of the House committee for General, Housing and Military Affairs.