The US state of West Virginia only required their Governor Jim Justice’s signature for House Bill 2934, the Lottery Interactive Wagering Act to become a law. The Governor didn’t sign the bill within the deadline date on Wednesday, and the bill automatically became a law. Following Justice’s failure, online gambling became legal in the state.
The state is now the 5th to legalize online gambling in the US. It now joins New Jersey, Nevada, Delaware and Pennsylvania who had legalized it long back however only the first three states mentioned have licensed poker sites in operation.
The West Virginian bill is now a law, but it will come into effect in coming weeks, giving some room for poker sites to set up and run. Online casino licensing also needs to be done before the implementation. The bill allows the state’s 5 land-based casinos, viz. Hollywood Casino, Mardi Gras Casino, Mountaineer Casino, The Casino Club and Wheeling Island Hotel to apply for an online gambling license.
Along with poker, other casino games like blackjack, slots, etc. will also be available at some or all soon-to-be-licensed sites. A total of 7 states legalized sports betting after the historic Supreme Court decision to overturn the ban in 2018 and West Virginia was already one of those.
An online license in the state will cost $250k upfront and operators will have to pay another $100k every 5 years to renew it. Additionally, 15% tax on the revenue generated from these internet casinos must be paid to the government.
The United States poker community was badly hit in the 2011 Black Friday incident and many states were hesitant to introduce gambling in their respective regions. However, gradually, the recovery happened, and the incident’s instigator Chris Ferguson also apologized to the public. This legalization comes at this time when the industry over the years has rebuilt itself.
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