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West Virginia Online Gaming Bill Passes Senate

A Signature From The Governor Is The Last Obstacle Before Online Poker And Casino Games Come To The State

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West Virginia is on the brink of having all forms of online gambling legalized in their state. Last Friday, the West Virginia state Senate overwhelmingly passed the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act by a vote of 26-7.

The bill, HB 2934, was passed in the state’s House in February and will now have two more steps before the bill becomes law. Since the Senate made minor changes to the bill, it will go back to the House for another vote before heading to the desk of the Gov. Jim Justice. It is expected to easily pass the House.

The state passed both online and retail sports betting last year and online poker would be included in this bill, as well as all other casino table games.

If Gov. Justice signs the bill, West Virginia would become the fifth state with regulated online gaming. They would join Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.

Under the bill’s plan, the state’s five casinos would be eligible to apply for a license. A five-year license would cost $250,000, with renewals at $100,000. The state would tax online gaming entities at 15 percent.

The bill does not include a ‘bad actor’ clause, which would allow companies like PokerStars to enter the market. PokerStars signed an agreement with Eldorado Resorts last November to provide their online poker platform. Eldorado Resorts owns Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort, making it likely that the world’s largest poker site would enter the state’s online poker market.

Meanwhile, West Virginia’s online sports betting market appears to have hit a bump in the road. On Friday, the state’s only online sports betting operation was suspended because Miomni Gaming, the online betting platform provider, is involved a contract dispute with a supplier. It’s unclear what the dispute is and when the operation will be restored.

Miomni Gaming is the provider for Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras Casino. The three other casinos in the state have yet to introduce an online platform.