- Republican Party-dominated local government unlikely to pass bill
- Bill’s author has been vociferous in support for gambling liberalisation
- State has also seen calls to legalise sports betting fail recently
West Virginia’s House of Delegates will mull over a new bill that has been introduced for the legalization and regulation of online casinos in the state.
House Bill 3067, however, does not have much chance of success according to some commentators. Authored by Delegate Shawn Fluharty (D-District 3) and co-sponsored by four Democratic lawmakers, the bill would legalize online gambling, allowing existing gambling locations to pay a $50,000 license to run online operations in the state in an attempt to raise some much needed revenue.
But the move is unlikely to become law thanks to strong opposition in the state’s Republican-dominated legislature.
Gambling is already a big industry in West Virginia – the state contains five casinos, permits gaming in bars and also has a public lottery. However, it seems the move into online casinos and gambling may be a step too far for many local legislators and decision makers, who have traditionally been opposed to the move and any further developments into the so-called ‘sin sector’.
‘March Madness’ sparking debate over sports betting
Fluharty has been at the forefront of many initiatives to liberalise the state’s gambling laws. He also recently called on the state to legalise sports betting, an issue which is often hotly debated around the current ‘March Madness’ period, when millions of Americans participate in friendly (and technically illegal) betting pools. He also frequently posts about gambling on his social media accounts.
Fluharty has also failed in attempts to legalise medical marijuana in the state. With the GOP dominating the local government and opposing the plan for online gambling, it seems that the new bill is similarly unlikely to succeed. The state will instead need to examine other options for boosting its revenue.