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West Virginia files a new bill this week for the legalisation of online and land-based sports betting with the regulation of online poker and casino.

A new House Bill 2178 has been introduced by the representatives Shawn Fluharty and Joe Canestraro, which looks to amend the 1931 Code of West Virginia, allowing online gaming for players aged 21 and above. The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee for further scrutiny, after which it will be passed to the House Finance Committee.

As per the bill, video lottery and table games deliver substantial benefits to the state by providing financial support to West Virginia’s racing and agricultural industries.

“Developments in technology and recent legal decisions have created an opportunity to legalize interactive poker as a means to further enhance and complement the benefits delivered by casino gaming and licensed facilities to or for the benefit of the communities in which they operate,” it explains.

Regulation for iGaming will be entrusted to the West Virginia Lottery Commission, with only authorised gaming facilities and entities that have been granted racing licences from the state Racing Commission will be eligible for certification.

According to this, only five venues would be able to apply for iGaming licences: Penn National’s Hollywood Casino, Eldorado Resorts’ Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort; Delaware North’s Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island venues, and Casino Club.

Licence fee is $50,000, and 14 per cent gross gaming revenue tax has to be paid by each applicant. None would be allowed to offer third party skins under their licence.

Strict penalties are also set along with the proposal for unlicensed gambling, with first-time offenders liable to be hit with a fine of up to $150,000, and a year in prison. Second offenders see the maximum fine jump to $300,000, with the potential prison term raised to three years.

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Niji Narayan has been in the writing industry for well over a decade or so. He prides himself as one of the few survivors left in the world who have actually mastered the impossible art of copy editing. Niji graduated in Physics and obtained his Master’s degree in Communication and Journalism. He has always interested in sports writing and travel writing. He has written for numerous websites and his in-depth analytical articles top sports magazines like Cricket Today and Sports Today. He reports gaming industry headlines from all around the globe.