Online casinos, poker now legal in West Virginia
The West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act is now law
West Virginians can now legally play poker and gamble in online casinos. After the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act (LIWA) easily passed through the House last month, the Senate gave it its thumbs-up after making a few changes. The House accepted the changes and the only thing remaining was the signature of Governor Jim Justice. He never gave it, but this is a good thing.
Justice had until March 26 to veto LIWA. However, he didn’t even give the bill a sideways glance, preferring to let it ride on its own. Justice is part of a family involved in gambling in the state, and any movements – approval, veto or otherwise – could have been seen as a conflict of interest. He made the smart decision and just remained out of it, letting the wishes of the people decide the state’s gambling fate.
West Virginia will now offer online poker and casinos for anyone 21 years old or older. All activity is restricted to within the state’s borders and land-based casinos can apply for one of the five licenses available. A maximum of one license per property is allowed and the state currently has five casinos – Hollywood Casino, Mountaineer Casino, The Casino Club, Mardi Gras Casino and Wheeling Island Hotel.
Each license costs $250,000. It runs for five years, at which time it can be renewed for an additional $100,000. There is also a $100,000 fee for platform and service management licenses and a $10,000 fee for supplier licenses.
A specific launch date for online gaming is not yet known. However, most analysts predict that it will be next year before any movement is seen.