Summer a Possibility for West Virginia Online Gambling

Legal WV Online Betting in July
May 07, 2020 11:05Joe Tarzaiski

West Virginia stipulations in the legal process may bring online poker and casino gambling to the state much sooner than anticipated. It was originally assumed to be brought to the state in late 2020 or 2021.

The suspension of land-based casinos has created an expected peak to the numbers of online gambling. States with legal online casinos are experiencing a huge traffic surge due to the pandemic, and West Virginia wants in on the action.

How is WV Online Gambling Becoming Legal so Quickly?

The West Virginia Lottery Commission approved a set of “emergency rules” for iGaming last week. Director John Myers told iGB the rules will initiate an expedited launch, much sooner than originally intended.

West Virginia online gaming could become a reality as soon as July.

What are Emergency Rules?

With these emergency rules, the Lottery will be able to legally grant interim licenses within the state. This will allow companies to begin operations almost immediately. These regulations will stay effective for 270 days while the Commission conducts a review before issuing a full license. The Secretary has 42 days to approve or reject the emergency rules once they have been filed.

The word “emergency” means the rules are temporary, allowing the state to accelerate its launch of online gaming. Last year, the state’s online gambling law passed, instructing the Lottery to produce a set of emergency rules before July.

COVID-19 is the outbreak that has induced the state to speed up the process of taking advantage of these “emergency rules.” These rules obtained by WV MetroNews allow authorization for most forms of online gambling. They cover responsibilities for topics including:

  • Customer data and privacy
  • Cybersecurity
  • Geolocation technology, physical location of site servers, etc.
  • Compliance and communication with the regulator
  • Game integrity
  • Segregation of funds

The emergency rules contain a section allowing “reciprocal agreements” with other jurisdictions, provided that “such wagering is not inconsistent with federal law or the law of the [other] jurisdiction.”

Regulators are likely to go on with results given at the federal level. If previous laws are reinterpreted, it appears West Virginia will be ready to authorize multi-state poker. If this is upheld, it would seem the Lottery will accept in accordance without resistance.

West Virginia online casinos and poker rooms need to operate in partnership with a land-based licensed facility. There are currently five eligible casinos throughout the state. They are all given the opportunity to partner with up to three online businesses.

West Virginia currently will have access to DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, and BetMGM. The three current companies will most likely be the first to open online casinos.

As far as poker, it looks that PokerStars (owned by Flutter, which also owns FanDuel) will attempt to launch in West Virginia without a liquidity-sharing compact with other states.

Hold tight, West Virginia. It looks like your online gaming wishes are about to become a reality by mid-summer.

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Joe Tarzaiski
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Joe Tarzaiski began his sports writing career in 2004 in the Philadelphia market, analyzing and handicapping professional sports, college sports, poker and various table games. He currently reports on the increased efforts on the legalization and continual growth of sports betting throughout the United States. A Philadelphia University alum, Joe is dedicated to following current trends in both the gaming community and daily news throughout the sports world.
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