In 2017, the state of West Virginia considered online poker legislation, but discussions were short lived. It seems that now the state is looking at the industry yet again and a bill has been formally introduced. The state is located near Pennsylvania, an area that passed online gaming legislation in October of 2017. To stay competitive, it would be smart for West Virginia to pass an iGaming bill.
House Bill 3067 was introduced formally last week and is currently sitting in a legislative committee of the House. A hearing on the measure could potentially be created in the next few weeks but no information has been provided to be certain. The efforts to see online gaming take shape in the state is being led by State Delegate Shawn Fluharty.
Late last year when Pennsylvania passed online gaming legislation, Fluharty stated that West Virginia needed to act, or they would be left in the dust. It does make sense for West Virginia offer online gaming. There are currently five casinos in the state, with gaming earnings continue to decrease year after year. With online gaming, the casinos could begin to see a turn around or at least use the online portion to make up for land-based losses.
West Virginia has been affected by competition in Maryland as well as other neighboring states. Over the years, the casino industry of WV has continued to decline as resident’s travel to other areas for land-based casino gaming. With online gaming, WV would be able to offer something new and hopefully keep revenues within their borders instead of seeing money move out to neighboring states.
Only time will tell if the legislation will move forward and West Virginia will have a chance to enter the online gaming market or if the bill will die before it can even get started. Hopefully the former will be the case.