Sports betting is now legal in West Virginia.
The recently passed West Virginia Sports Lottery Wagering Act has completely changed the landscape of gambling in the eastern US state. It took effect last Friday when West Virginia Governor Jim Justice had declined to sign it, meaning the bill, which was formerly known as Senate Bill 415, automatically passed into law.
West Virginia becomes the sixth state in the United States to legalise sports betting, with the others being:
- New Jersey
- New York
West Virginia Lottery Commission to manage state’s gambling
The commission will empower the five gaming operators within the state to offer sports betting on pro and collegiate sports. To this extent, a revenue of 10 per cent will find its way into the coffers of the state from the gross revenue of the gambling operators.
Legislators and Sports Associations Disagree On Respective Demands
Gov. Justice expressed high hopes that the US Supreme Court would approve sports betting nationally in the coming months. This would enable him to sort out areas of conflict within the legislation and also analyze areas of partnership with major sports league. The governor emphasizes that partnering with big sports leagues will be beneficial everyone in West Virginia.
There is however a rift between state legislators and sports associations over the expected sports betting legalization by the Supreme Court. Legislators seek for the market to be highly regulated, but sports associations seek a 1 per cent integrity fee cut. The NBA and MLB dominate the sports associations, and the 1 per cent integrity fee they seek is estimated to amount to about $15 billion revenue.
NBA and MLB promise to work with Gov. Justice on sports betting activities
Following Gov. Justice’s encouraging words with sports betting in the state, both the NBA and MLB expressed hopes of working with the government to ensure a seamless operation of online betting activities in the state.
“We will work with all relevant parties on amendments that will protect consumers and the integrity of sports,” the NBA wrote in response to Gov. Justice’s comments.
The MLB echoed the NBA’s sentiment.
“We believe that with the Governor’s leadership, the amended statute will better protect the citizens of West Virginia and the integrity of sports, and also increase revenue for the state in the long run,” the MLB added.