Just this week, the state of Pennsylvania expanded its gambling laws to allow activities like online gambling.
Now one of West Virginia’s lawmakers is calling for similar legislation here in the Mountain State.
Delegate Shawn Fluharty says the Mountain State is losing money by not expanding its gambling laws.
Currently, online gambling and sports betting are illegal in West Virginia, but he seeks to change that.
“There’s a huge black market for online gaming and a huge black market for sports betting. What we’re trying to do now is take it, shrink it, and get rid of the black market and make money off of it,” said Fluharty.
The Supreme Court will hear a case this term that could permit sports betting in all 50 states.
Fluharty says we need to pass legislation to allow sports betting in West Virginia now so that the state is ready for that possible Supreme Court ruling.
He says legalizing sports betting and online gambling is an opportunity to increase the state’s revenue.
“Right now, Pennsylvania is a competitor to West Virginia, in particular the northern panhandle, so the longer that West Virginia waits to act, the more money we lose out on. I’m tired of seeing West Virginia be last to do everything. With the bill that I introduced for sports betting and online gaming, we could get ahead of the curve,” said Laurie.
Pennsylvania’s gambling expansion is expected to bring in $200 million annually in gambling taxes to the state. Fluharty says that is the kind of money West Virginia is missing out on.