West Virginia House approves online gaming bill

Another state snubs the DOJ’s Wire Act opinion

West Virginia appears to be the latest state to tell the Department of Justice (DOJ) to keep its nose out of its business. The West Virginia House has approved an online gaming bill, which could pave the way for online casinos and online poker to be introduced to the state. It now will be voted on by the state Senate, and is expected to find approval in that chamber, as well.

House Bill 2934, the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act, made it through the House with only limited objections. It passed by a vote of 72-22 and will be considered by a number of Senate committees before being put to a full vote by the legislative body. If it is approved, it will then make it to Governor Jim Justice’s desk for his approval, ultimately making West Virginia the fifth state to legalize online gaming if it’s approved.

Under the bill, licensed casinos in West Virginia would be able to offer online poker and casino games to all eligible state residents. Operators would have to pay a licensing fee of $250,000 – much lower than the $1 million or $10 million seen in other states – and a tax on gross gaming revenue of 15%. Given the support the bill received in the House the details seem to be appealing to most state lawmakers.

Despite the DOJ’s reversal on the Federal Wire Act, many states don’t seem to be too concerned about possible repercussions. Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware are moving forward with their gaming markets and Pennsylvania is still planning on introducing online gambling. If West Virginia approves the bill, it would give further support for other states to follow suit, virtually ignoring the puzzling DOJ stance.

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