West Virginia online poker merged with larger gambling bill

west virginia online poker

While some states have pumped the brakes on talks of legalizing online poker specifically and online gambling generally, West Virginia is jumping on the gas pedal.

A new bill introduced in West Virginia late last week is calling for all forms of online gambling to be legalized in the state. That would of course include online poker, as well as sports betting, daily fantasy sports, and online casinos.

The new bill, HB 2934 formally known as the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act, was introduced by Democratic Delegate Jason Barrett. It comes nearly a year to the day sports betting was legalized in the state and a month after another bill was introduced to try and legalize online poker.

That bill, HB 2178 was introduced by Delegate Shawn Fluharty and has received little support. Fluharty has added his name to the list of 10 co-sponsors on HB 2934.

How does West Virginia bill affect online poker?

If passed HB 2934 would delegate regulatory authority over online gambling, including online poker, to the West Virginia Lottery Commission. They were granted regulatory authority over sports betting in the state when it was legalized last year.

Under the terms of HB 2934 any operator looking to run online gambling sites in West Virginia would need to apply for a five-year license. These licenses would cost $250,000. All revenue generated by online gambling would be taxed at 10 per cent.

Unlike some other online gambling bills introduced in other states, West Virginia’s bill did not include a “bad actor” clause excluding sites who continued to operate in the state after the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act from doing business in West Virginia.

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This could be good news for sites like Poker Stars. It’s not all good news for offshore companies though. The bill did include language that may keep any offshore companies who operate illegally in the U.S. from applying for a license in West Virginia.

The next step for HB 2934 is a review and consideration in the West Virginia House Judiciary.


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