New Online Gambling Bill Introduced in West Virginia

Lawmakers in West Virginia are gearing up to take another crack at legal online gambling. A new version of bill H 3067 was reintroduced this week. First introduced in March of last year, the bill would allow state casinos to launch online gaming sites.

The most important aspect of the bill is the details it provides for regulation of the state's online gambling industry. The job would go to the state Lottery commission, which already oversees state casino gambling. The Commission would be tasked with establishing age verification to ensure players are over 21, as well as geolocation to limit access to West Virginia residents.

The bill also leaves the door open for the Lottery Commission to enter interstate player pool liquidity agreements with other states.

Unlike the online gambling regulations that recently passed into law in Pennsylvania, West Virginia would make it's licensing far more accessible for operators. The initial license fee would be set at $50,000 (Pennsylvania asks for $10 million), with a tax rate of 14 percent for both online poker and casino games. Pennsylvania's online gambling taxes are set at 54 percent for slots and 16 percent for table games and poker.

When the bill was first introduced, it was met with stiff opposition from Republican House Speaker Tim Armstead. However, things have changed a lot since last year – the most prominent change being the legalization of online gambling in neighboring Pennsylvania. The two states compete for gambling revenue along their borders and have been known to follow each others leads to avoid losing.

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