West Virginia Joins Jumps on US Sports Betting Bandwagon
The West Virginia State Senate approved a bill that would allow gambling operators throughout the state to offer sports betting, should it become later this year. West Virginia is one of growing number of states that are betting that the Supreme Court will overturn the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) of 1992 and unleash a new vertical for the state’s gaming industry.
Inside the bill (S 415), which sailed through the Senate on a 25-9 vote, is a clear regulatory path that the state’s horse racing tracks can follow when the time for regulated sports betting arrives. The bill includes some pretty standard stuff such as limiting sports wagering to adults over the age of 21 and allowing wagering on both professional and college sports.
S 415 also addressed the nuts and bolts of how regulated sports betting would be eased into the WV gaming ecosystem. Under the terms of the bill, operators would apply for a sports betting license that would cost $100,000. Once they were up and rolling, they would be taxed 10 percent of their gross gaming revenue. The entire process would be overseen by the State Lottery Commission. Provisions for integrity monitoring would also be included in the bill.
Sen. Michael Woelfel argued in favor of the bill and pointed out a few basic truths about the nature of regulated sports betting saying:
You also have to remember this would could bring a fair amount of jobs,” he said. “And I see us capturing activity that’s already going on in our state and capturing tax revenue that’s going to be spent for good reasons.
He also estimated that West Virginia sports betting would generate $5 million to $10 million in its first year.
A decision on regulated American sports betting is expected to come down from the US Supreme Court as early as June.