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Emergency Online Gambling Provisions Approved By West Virginia Lottery Commission

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With West Virginia Lottery revenues dipping in the wake of COVID-19, the West Virginia Lottery Commission has approved emergency rules. However, West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office will need to file the rules before May 15. The secretary must then decide to approve or reject the rules within 42 days of receipt.

Proposed new gambling rules

The rules that the commission has drafted include the following provisions:

  • Each land-based casino in the state can offer up to three online gambling skins under a license. Those participating would need to pay a $100,000 license fee.
  • Technology, content or system suppliers providing said services under the new rules would have to pay a licensing fee of $10,000.
  • Following an application review, the commission would approve interim gambling licenses to allow companies to act as operators or suppliers for a period of 270 days.

The new rules provide for operators to begin providing gambling services to residents in a few short months. The West Virginia Legislature would need to pass any approval to extend the rules. Observers anticipate that the 2021 legislative session will evaluate the premise.

West Virginia online gambling status

Currently, a 15% tax on gross revenue is levied on operators, as outlined in the 2019 West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act. Under the act, also referred to as HB 2934, tax-free promotional credits can be garnered from a percentage of revenue. However, the lottery commission would need to approve any advertising prior to publishing. The act also outlines a requirement for problem gambling and self-exclusion data to be reviewed on a weekly.

While West Virginia was one of the first states to pioneer sports betting after the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018, it has trailed behind other states making investments in online gambling options for residents.

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