West Virginia is the latest US state to join the company of those who have kicked off the year with plans and proposed bills to introduce iGaming as a part of their legislation. Earlier this week an online gaming bill was presented before West Virginia’s House of Delegates under the title HB3067 sponsored by five delegates, lead by Delegate Shawn Fluharty. The bill aims to solve the financial worries the state has been going through in the recent years by legalizing various forms of internet gambling including online poker and online casinos.
According to the bill proposal presented by Shawn Fluharty technological progress and the modern trends in the industry open up the new space for development of the casino industry, especially concerning online poker, as by the beginning of the year West Virginia Senate have voted in favor of treating poker as a game of skill. Such interpretation of poker allows for it to be legalized without contradicting the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. Though this is not the first time West Virginia legislators discuss the notion of legalizing internet gambling, HB3067 is the first official draft bill proposed.
Over the last few years casino industry in the state has recorded a downfall in generated revenue, caused mainly by the growing competition from the other states. There are five land-based casinos in West Virginia, while there are over twenty in neighboring states. The very beginning of the year showed a drop of 15% in the total revenue generated by West Virginia casinos, so it is a good moment to propose a solution and cut the problem in its root.
Logical solution that arises is definitely introducing online gambling in the picture, which the five delegates recognized and decided to co-sponsor the bill that would allow internet gambling to the persons over 21 years old within the borders of the state. The West Virginia Lottery Commission would be in charge of licensing and regulation.
According to HB3067 the proposed licenses would be issued to the existing gaming operators and the one-time fee is set to $50,000, which is significantly lower in comparison to other states whose proposed fees do not go under $1 million. The Commission would be responsible for monitoring the online gambling activity in terms of verifying the age of the players and their location, as well as detecting any kind of fraudulent activity.
The bill would also impose legal action against unauthorized online gambling in the form of money penalties and imprisonment. The bill predicts two types of fines: a fine between $75,000 and $150,000 for first offense and a fine between $150,000 and $300,000 and between one and three years in prison for a second offense.
As in the other US states attempting to pass acts that would allow internet gambling the future of the online gambling bill in West Virginia is uncertain, but if it is to judge by the statements of the Lottery directors in the previous years, there is reason for hope.
In the meantime, if you live in West Virginia or any other state which does not yet allow internet gambling, browse our full gambling directory for all the types of internet gambling available. Whether you want to play online poker, casino games or bet on sports, we have the best portals listed right here at eGamblingPortals.