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West Virginia Lottery to Consider Online Gaming
- August 29, 2014 By Nemanja L. -
West Virginia could become the next US state to allow online gambling, the state lottery director John Musgrave has moved to suggest. West Virginia Lottery has seen a major decrease in revenue of late and they are weighing up the possibility of introducing online gaming in an attempt to boost their finances.
Gambling in the Mountain State is currently only allowed within four race-track casinos, overseen by the state lottery, but these establishments have seen poor results of late due to the competition provided by the new casinos opened in Maryland and Ohio.
As a result, the West Virginia Lottery representatives are seriously thinking about legalizing online gambling within the state in the near future.
“We’re still exploring (online gaming) because we feel that’s the way the industry’s moving, so we want to plan for it,” Musgrave told reporters.
“We have not yet made any decision for how we’re going to implement it, but we are looking at it, studying it and seeing how our casinos in our jurisdiction can move in that direction.”
Lottery to Offer Games via Smartphone App
The land-based casino establishments are expected to take an additional hit with a new indoor smoking ban having been implemented in two race-track casinos as Mountaineer Casino and Hollywood Casino chiefs believe the said ban will result in a 20 per cent decline in revenue.
The state’s current law on gaming would require amendments if online gaming is to be regulated in West Virginia, but John Musgrave also has a back-up plan. Namely, the lottery executive plans to offer Powerball, Mega Millions and Hot Lotto games on a smartphone application.
Such an arrangement would see the players simply buy their tickets online and receive the prizes via their mobile phones rather than visiting lottery vendors to purchase the tickets.
Gambling in West Virginia
Under the West Virginia Gambling Law, gambling is deemed illegal by default, but some exceptions do apply. West Virginia Racing Commission and West Virginia Lottery Commission act as the two regulatory bodies, with Wheeling Island Casino, Mountaineer Casino, Hollywood Casino and The Mardi Gras Casino & Resort the only four establishments where gambling is legal within the state.
In case John Musgrave’s proposition is accepted, the Mountain State will become the fourth US state to allow online lottery sales, following in the footsteps of Minnesota, Georgia and Illinois, but a bill would have to be passed and signed by the governor in order for the online gambling to be legalized in full capacity that would see online poker rooms and online casinos free to offer their services to the state residents.