There has been plenty of news surrounding the legalisation of online poker and other gambling within the state of West Virginia recently. Our most-recent nugget of information was that the bill had managed to pass through the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act with a 26-7 vote outcome. The final hurdle for it to clear was to receive a signature from the state’s Governor.
Well, residents of West Virginia need wait no longer, because Governor Jim Justice actually didn’t do anything! Rather than sign the bill into law or veto it by the deadline on Wednesday, the bill was left to one side. This means that it automatically becomes law in the state, meaning that online gambling is now a legal activity in West Virginia. This makes it the fifth of the 50 US states to officially legalise such.
The four other states that offer legal online gambling are Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. While the latter of these is still somewhat in limbo with providing online poker options, the other three have their own licensed poker operations in action.
Michigan could also have had something similar in effect already, but on his way out, former Governor Rick Snyder chose to veto it as one of his last acts.
What Does This Mean for West Virginia?
Just because a law has come into effect, doesn’t mean that residents of West Virginia will start instantly seeing online poker sites come into play. Yes, it’s great that the activity is now legal and possible, but there are several other steps to go through first. For example, licensing online casinos is not a swift process.
The new bill does provide the option for West Virginia’s land-based casinos – of which, there are five – to apply for an online gambling licence. It is only those five casinos that are able to provide online gambling opportunities to residents of The Mountain State.
It’s not only online poker that has been made legal in the state though, because casino games can also be provided in such an environment. Therefore, the land-based casinos will be able to bring their slots, blackjack, roulette and other options to the citizens of the state via the internet. When you also consider that West Virginia is one of the seven states that has chosen to legalise sports betting since the overturning of the ban on such in 2018, things are looking good for avid bettors there.
Should the five casinos in the state wish to apply for online gambling licences, there will be a fee of $250,000 to pay upfront. Then, every five years, the operators will need to hand over another $100,000 to retain and renew their licences. Alongside this fee, there is also a 15% tax on the revenue that their online operations generate.