West Virginia Prepares for Sports Betting
When the U.S. Supreme Court recently agreed to hear New Jersey’s request to allow sports betting at casinos and racetracks, West Virginia filed a brief in support. Curtis Johnson, a spokesman for West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, said, “The brief takes no position on the wisdom of state and federal sports wagering laws, but seeks to stop Congress from forcing states to act as a vehicle for implementing federal policy. Such commandeering is unconstitutional and unlawful.”
State Delegate Shawn Fluharty sponsored a bill to legalize sports betting in the state during this year’s legislative session, but it wasn’t taken up. Fluharty said if the U.S. Supreme Court case leads to the repeal of the nationwide ban on sports betting, he wants West Virginia to be ready ahead of neighboring states, like when it legalized racetrack video lottery in the early 1990s and table games in the early 2000s.“If we’re able to get in front of this, we might be able to get out ahead of the other states for a few years. It’s a no-brainer and a great opportunity to delve into some revenue generation we desperately need,” he said.
Legal sports betting is allowed in Nevada and in Oregon, Delaware and Montana where some form of wagering was allowed before a federal ban on sports betting went into effect.