West Virginia Governor Permits Online Gaming Bill to Become Law

Governor Jim Justice allows West Virginia to become the fourth state to allow online casinos and poker

Providing a massive boost to the state’s casinos, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has allowed an igaming law to pass without signing the legislation.

Justice did not sign the bill but permitted it to pass into law so that the state can become the fifth in the United States to have online gaming for residents.

West Virginia joins Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania as the fifth state to approve playing online casino games and poker in the United States.

How much money does West Virginia expect igaming to bring in each year?

Mobile betting is estimated to bring around $6 million to West Virginia’s coffers in the fiscal 2021 year.

To participate in the online gaming, the state’s casinos will have to pay a license fee of $250,000 with a $100,000 renewal fee every five years.

The state will generate revenue through a 15% tax on all online gaming revenue and all online gaming will be regulated by the West Virginia Lottery.

Casinos in the state to offer igaming will be Greenbriar, Hollywood, Mountaineer, Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island.

Why didn’t Governor Justice sign the bill?

With the law passing on March 9th of this year, Justice had plenty of time to endorse and sign the legislation, but he chose instead to let the bill pass into law, leaving many to question why Gov. Justice made that decision.

The Governor is the owner of one of five casinos that offer legalized sports betting, and now, with the passing of House Bill 2934, Justice’s Greenbriar resort will be eligible to provide igaming betting as well.

Many political pundits are offering the reason that by signing the bill, Justice would be putting his name on something that benefits his pockets directly.

By not signing the bill, experts argue that Justice does not give political opponents ammunition to attack the Governor.

Delegate Shawn Fluharty took to Twitter to criticize the Governor for vetoing medical marijuana but allowing the igaming bill that directly benefits Justice.

“Governor Jim Justice (R – Clueless) has vetoed the medical cannabis vertical integration bill. Don’t let him tell you he cares about West Virginians. It’s funny, he never seems to veto bills that bring the Greenbrier or his buddies more money,” Fluharty tweeted.

When will West Virginians be able to play at online casinos?

West Virginia residents should expect legal online gaming to hit the fast track for implementation with early estimates calling for an app to be ready sometime in 2020.

The state was one of the first to adopt online sports betting after the Supreme Court knocked down Nevada’s monopoly.

Like the sports betting app, residents of the state will have to create an account at one of the five online casinos before they can play online. The new app will only allow betting for users inside the state boundaries.