Virginia has been trying for a few years to become a pioneer in the gambling industry. However, it has been challenging to overcome certain barriers in the legislative body. But it is already one of the first states outside of Nevada to legalize sports betting.
A bipartisan group introduced an online gambling bill and it has already passed in the House Judiciary Committee. It will now be sent to the Finance Committee, where it is expected to have the same fate.
The iGaming legislation will enrich West Virginia
The new bill will allow casinos to offer full-scale online gambling, but operators will be charged $250,000 for licenses. The WV Lottery Commission will regulate the industry and the revenue will be taxed at a 10-percent rate.
Apart from this, there will also be new criminal penalties for unlicensed online gambling operations. Del. Jason Barrett is expecting bipartisan support for the new bill, stating that it “has the potential to bring millions of dollars in revenue” to West Virginia.
A proposed amendment failed, but the bill will still meet some revisions
In the meantime, the committee substitute has increased the suggested rate to 15 percent. However, some lawmakers still considered the number to be insufficient.
In this way, and alluding to the lottery privilege tax, Del. Tom Fast suggested a 35-percent tax. But the amendment saw opposition, especially when compared to the taxes applied to other states, such as Nevada and New Jersey. Consequently, it was rejected and the 15 percent tax rate was approved.
Yet, there was an amendment that passed. The bill saw some language updates, which assured that the market is now opened to operators like PokerStars.
The current WV legislature is in session until March 9 this year.