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West Virginia Legislators Approve Emergency iGaming Rules

The West Virginia Lottery Commission (WVLC) has announced that it will submit emergency rules to the Secretary of the State before the end of this month. 

A 39-page document was approved by the commission last week, and it’s anticipated that this will be filed by May 15th. 

The Senate of the State will, once proposals are submitted, have 42 days to say yes or no – according to the WVLC’s Director John Myers. 

If the green light is given to move forward, these rules will then have to be approved in next year’s legislative session. 

What’s included in the emergency rules? 

Each land-based venue will, under proposed laws, be permitted up to three skins as part of its license. 

For operators, a licensing fee of $100,000 will need to be paid. Technology, content or systems suppliers will be required to part with $10,000 for a permit to offer their services here.

The WVLC will have the power to hand out licenses that allow companies to act as operators or suppliers for 270 days. In this time period, the commission will perform a full review of their applications. 

When speaking to iGB North America, Myers said the following. 

“Once approved, West Virginia casinos can begin offering igaming under the emergency rules and minimum internal controls.

“Those rules will be good for 15 months until the permanent legislative rule is adopted by the legislature.”

Other practicalities of sports betting in West Virginia 

House Bill 2934, also known as the West Virginia Lottery Interactive Wagering Act, was passed into law in March 2019. 

According to this legislation, online casino operators will be taxed 15% of their annual revenue. The lottery also has the power to set either a sum or percentage for tax-free promotional credits. Any credits above said sum would also be taxed at the 15% rate. 

Sportsbooks will pay 10% in tax each year. However, Myers expects the revenue for both online casino and sports betting to be roughly the same. 

All forms of advertising will need to be approved by the commission director before they go live. This spans from operators to management service providers, agents and affiliates – plus others. 

Each week, data on problem gamblers and self-exclusions are to be gathered. Brands also have an obligation to document all action related to this. 

In addition to his previous quotes, Myers had the following to say.

“All that remains is approval of the emergency rule by the Secretary of State and the approval of our minimum internal controls by the Lottery Commission.

“It is conceivable that some of our iGaming operators could be up and running as early as June or July under the emergency rules.”

What happens now?

The state’s legislature still needs to pass the laws and make them effective, before they come into effect permanently. Realistically, this is expected to happen at some stage next year. 

Once the legislature has approved these rules, players will have access to the online betting that it allows. 

When it comes to launching both online gaming and sports betting, Myers expects iGaming to be a less strenuous process. 

In an article published by WV Metro News, he said the below. 

“The initial build-out of the iGaming system–they can almost take the new games, which will come in a suite and they can lay that right on top of a sports wagering-type of platform.

“It’s not going to be as labor intensive or to take as long to get out as sports wagering.”

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