West Virginia senate prepares for wider sports betting

News on 31 Jan 2018

West Virginia Senator Majority Leader Ryan Ferns has moved to ensure that his state is not left behind should the US Supreme Court rule that US sports betting should be opened up across the nation in the New Jersey case (see previous  reports).

The senator has strong bipartisan support for his SB415 West Virginia Lottery Sports Wagering Bill which would allow sports betting at five casinos….and online.

The proposal envisages the West Virginia Lottery Commission drafting such legislation, tasked with the handling licensure, regulation and administrative work described in the bill. The lottery has been a major driving force on the proposals.

“It is clear that sports betting now has full bipartisan support,” said House Delegate Shawn Fluharty, who sponsored a sports betting bill in 2017 that died in committee.

“I’ve worked with the West Virginia Lottery to get a comprehensive piece of legislation that is expected to generate $34 million in its first year — all without raising taxes or fees on West Virginians.”

Fluharty has already revealed that he is working on a House version of the Ferns legislation (see previous reports).

The Senate bill proposes a 10 percent tax rate on GGR, a few points higher than Nevada’s 6.75 percent but manageable and competitive with News Jersey’s proposed 8 to 10 percent.

It allows wagering on both professional and college sports, with a minimum 21 years age limit on punters.

Importantly, it makes provision for online wagering on sports, reading: “A West Virginia Lottery sports wagering license authorizes the operation of West Virginia Lottery sports wagering at locations and any mobile application or other digital platforms approved by the commission.”

Licenses will carry an application fee $250,000 good for the full five-year duration of the licence. At the end of the five year licence period operators may renew for a further five years at a once-off fee of $100,000.

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