Legality and Laws of West Virginia Online Sports Betting

West Virginia

The Definitive Guide to West Virginia Online Betting

Among the many stickler points in sports, the legality of sports betting has unquestionably stirred up some of the most controversial debates. With the May Supreme Court decision to repeal the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, more commonly known as PAPSA, there has never been a better time to gamble on the stars of the sports world. Three states have already legalized sports betting and a fourth, West Virginia, is clearing the necessary hurdles required to make sports gambling a reality.

Perhaps because of some of the strong rhetoric coming from their attorney general, Patrick Morrisey, West Virginia has long been seen as one of the premier pioneer states when it comes to legalizing sports betting. Morrissey’s views and rhetoric on the matter are fiercely unabashed as his amicus curiae briefs filed on behalf of New Jersey during their own sports gambling fights are not only forcefully clear, but approach the matter from a sturdy legal perspective. Appealing to his own parties’ staunch views of federalism, Morrisey argued that, “The U.S. Congress has no power to prevent state governments from authorizing sports betting as a form of gaming.” Whereas previous attempts to legalize sports gambling faltered as they were more closely legally scrutinized, Morrissey’s argument served as the tip of the iceberg, the tip that would eventually break the shackles off of the controversial industry.

Legal History in West Virginia

Despite momentum from the attorney general, attempts in 2017 to legalize sports gambling fell through. Delegate Shawn Fluharty introduced H 2751 which would “legalize and regulate sports betting at West Virginia casinos.” The bill never passed but a $160,000 study by the state continued the steady momentum for gambling stands. Finally, in 2018, Fluharty’s third bill on the topic, S 415, passed both the Senate and the House in February. Perhaps riding the coat tail of the Supreme Court case on the topic, the bill set the stage for sports gambling to take off in West Virginia. Governor Jim Justice permitted the bill to become law; however, the dubious nature of the national debate became ever more evident as he neglected to put his own signature on the bill. The governor’s hesitance to sign off on the bill stems in large part from his favorable relationship with sports leagues, as he seeks to make the language as league friendly as possible. Despite all this, a September 1st launch date is expected as lawmakers and regulators iron out some last minute kinks.

In the aftermath of the legalization, five casinos have sprung up to fill the gambling demand in West Virginia. Located in Charles Town, Hollywood Casino (an interesting name for a casino situated in the heart of blue collar West Virginia) is the first to be licensed. In the hope that the business takes off, Penn National Gaming Inc. is closing in on a partnership agreement with the casino. Other casinos include The Casino Club at The Greenbrier, Mardi Gras Casino and Resort, Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort and Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Racetrack. Among these, The Casino Club has reeled in quite the catch with the acquisition of FanDuel, the second largest DFS service in the country, to serve as their sports book provider. Overall, features will be aplenty in these hot beads of sports fanatics as all casinos are expected to include live big screen TV’s on top of the typical slots and poker games.

Financial Impact on the State

According to lottery officials, the financial impact of sports gambling on West Virginia is expected to be colossal. In the first year alone, $5 million is expected to be absorbed by the state. Furthermore, by the third and fifth year of sustained sports betting, West Virginia can expect an annual haul of $13.4 and $28.7 million respectively. Moreover, the anticipated financial boom will leave its mark on areas that stretch wider than simply gross revenue. According to State Lottery Director Alan Larrick, the legalization of sports betting carries with it the potential to spur even more commerce and business within the casinos themselves. Wisely, West Virginia has gradually been allocating funds set aside to be used for sports facilities in the midst of the expected gambling rush. In one instance, state lottery attorney Danielle Boyd claims the mountain state will transfer $9 million to modernize the state’s racetrack.

To widen the availability and appeal of sports gambling, a strong online betting service is something users can get excited about. Users will be able to bet not only online, but on their own mobile device. The difficult part about online and mobile gambling is the regulation of it; regulators understand this and are taking a more moderate approach. Although online wagering must be managed through each casinos’ individual license, casinos are permitted to loosen these restrictions at their own discretion; by this, each casino may consent to allow its users to use up to three independent suppliers. Through this avenue, many prominent independent suppliers such as PoolHost or DraftKings are sure to get in on the action.

Age Requirements to Gamble

Even as the floodgates open and legalization sweeps the nation, minimum age requirements are still in effect. Different states have their own age requirements when it comes to waging sports bets online but for most, including West Virginia, the age requirement is 21. However, a few states set the requirement at 18. Nonetheless, the bevy of online gambling sites should make wagering bets on sports all the more easy for the casual sports fan.

Future of Legal Betting Online Sports Betting in WV

Despite the current frenzy surrounding the present legalization, the future of sports wagering in West Virginia looks bright. As the financial estimates earlier demonstrated, states are expected to reel in more and more as the years progress. The assumed exponential increase in the value of sports betting should coincide with its increasingly dynamic effect on everyday life. Investors and integrity monitors have begun coming out in large numbers arguing that sports betting will eventually be a vital cog in the strategy of telecommunications and data companies. Additionally, peer to peer online betting may soon be an everyday occurrence. Similar to your everyday stock exchanges, this would allow for sports betting to happen at a rate never before seen. Whatever the future may hold, it is undeniably clear that a new norm has been set: place your bets now.

References:

McElhinny , Brad. “Sports Betting Starts to Take Shape at W.Va. Casinos.” WV MetroNews , 29 July 2018, wvmetronews.com/2018/07/29/sports-betting-starts-to-take-shape-at-w-va-casinos/

Purdum, David, and Ryan Rodenberg. “Future of Sports Betting: the Marketplace.” ESPN, ESPN Internet Ventures, 4 May 2017, www.espn.com/chalk/story/_/id/17892685/the-future-sports-betting-how-sports-betting-legalized-united-states-the-marketplace-look-like.

  
Sam Shefrin is the founder of Lineups.com, Inc. He started Daily Fantasy Cafe, Inc. in 2014 and before that SEO Services Los Angeles, Inc. Armed with a passion for sports and every Atlanta team, the journey continues. He has been quoted on Forbes.com for industry insight and his websites featured on NBATV, Yahoo! Sports, Fantasy Pros, Bleacher Report and SB Nation.