West Virginia Gambling Regulator Makes iGaming Regulation Progress
The West Virginia Lottery has started work on an online gambling regulatory framework and Director John Myers said recently that he felt pretty good about how the agency has been approaching the matter.
West Virginia already has online sports betting up and running. The state’s first digital sportsbook went live in February, but was shuttered abruptly due to a bitter vendor dispute. Online sports betting returned to West Virginia in late August.
Speaking with local news outlet WV MetroNews, Mr. Myers said that the State Lottery has compared notes with officials from Pennsylvania to see where they are at with the regulation of online casino gaming. The Keystone State’s first legal online casinos went live this past summer.
Mr. Myers said that their Pennsylvania counterparts “are set up very familiar to how we are.” He went on this gives them “kind of a relief” and a “little confidence that we’re headed in the right direction.”
Earlier this year, West Virginia legislators passed a bill that paved the way for the legalization of iGaming on the territory of the state. Lawmakers tasked the State Lottery with designing and implementing the rules under which online gaming activities will be conducted. Lottery officials were given about a year to craft the state’s preliminary online gambling regulatory framework.
Mr. Myers told the WV MetroNews that the iGaming emergency rules are expected to be in place by the early summer of 2020. He went on that if they stick to their previously set May to June timeframe, they will have enough time to get a permanent rule in place and “get beyond the legislative session and file the permanent rule.”
It should be noted that lottery officials have until July 1, 2020 to introduce the emergency rule. But it seems that they would be ready with it well ahead of that deadline.
Online Gambling to Generate Same Revenue as Sports Betting
Under the iGaming measure approved in the West Virginia Legislature this year, the state’s five brick-and-mortar casinos will be able to provide online gambling services to West Virginia-based customers through partnerships with online gaming operators and platform providers.
Interested casino operators will be required to pay a $250,000 online gaming license application fee for a five-year license. The license renewal fee will be $100,000.
Online casinos will be taxed at 15% on their revenue. West Virginia’s sports betting tax rate is 10%. Mr. Myers said that he expects that online gaming will generate about the same revenue as sports betting.
West Virginia’s retail sportsbooks have taken in $12.8 million in revenue since the beginning of the year, while revenue from online sports betting amounts to $4.9 million.
Mr. Myers said that what they have learned from their counterparts in Pennsylvania was that the work already done on sports betting would be of great help in the establishment of the state’s iGaming market.
The Lottery official elaborated that the “initial build-out of the iGaming system – they can almost take the new games, which will come in a suite and they can lay that right on top of a sports wagering type of platform.”
Mr. Myers also noted that online gaming would not be “as labor intensive” and time-consuming to get out as sports betting.
Source: Lottery compares notes with Pennsylvania on iGaming, WV MetroNews
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