What just happened at this West Virginia sports betting meeting?
May 10, 2018 10:07 AM
by Brett Smiley
A lot, because first-hand accounts of this closed-door meeting paint a colorful picture between attendees that include state lawmakers, a lobbyist for the NBA and NFL who has ties to Governor Jim Justice; an appearance by the NHL, possibly the first time the league has gotten involved on sports wagering publicly; representatives from West Virginia University and Marshall, plus casinos representatives and a “citizen volunteer” for West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, who did not attend in person but spoke by speakerphone. There was also some reported shouting, “shuttle diplomacy,” and an apparent conflict of interest in play.
In an excellent story by Brad McElhinny of MetroNews about the WV sports betting meeting, he writes that a registered lobbyist for Major League Baseball and the NBA who attended the meeting on their behalf, Larry Puccio, was “also leader of Justice’s transition team and lobbies for The Greenbrier, which has a casino and is owned by Justice’s family.” McElhinny also reports that Puccio is a lobbyist for The Greenbrier itself.
So to what extent was this whole thing a charade orchestrated by Justice to appease the sports leagues with which he does business, and to what extent, if any could it effect any actual change to the already-passed West Virginia sports betting bill, and even sports wagering legislation in other states?
Check out sportshandle.com for the full article.