West Virginia gets ready for sports betting

West Virginia gets ready for sports betting

March 13, 2018 3:00 AM
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There’s a new law in West Virginia that legalizes sports betting at the state’s five casinos, if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns a federal law banning Nevada-style sports wagering in every other state.

The new law allows sports betting at West Virginia licensed casinos and on Lottery Commission-approved mobile device applications.

The state would collect 10 percent of gross receipts. Bettors would have to be at least 21. There’s no so-called “integrity fee” in the legislation that had been sought by several major sports leagues in exchange for use of their “intellectual property.”

A court ruling is expected by early June.

Sports betting supporters in West Virginia say it will create jobs and tax revenues and bring sports betting into the open. State leaders had sought to move quickly to pass legislation to get a jump on nearby states also ready to jump into the sports wagering business.

Republican Gov. Jim Justice says state leaders will negotiate with the league and modify its legislation afterward. He said, “I believe there could be real value to this partnership. This approach will allow us to develop a relationship with all the major sports leagues so that it is beneficial to everyone.”

Justice added in his prepared statement, “Ohio hasn’t started on this legislation and Pennsylvania takes too big of a cut, so if the U.S. Supreme Court legalizes sports betting, we will have an advantage over surrounding states.”

Initial sports betting locations in West Virginia would be The Greenbrier, owned by the Gov. Justice and his family in a corporate structure, Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack, Mountaineer Casino Racetrack & Resort, the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in the Eastern Panhandle and the Mardi Gras Casino and Resort, near Charleston.

Officials of the West Virginia Restaurant and Bar Association say they are hoping they will eventually get in on the action in the future.