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Bill to legalize sports betting at casinos advances to West Virginia House floor


Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Legislation to legalize sports betting at state casinos — pending a favorable U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning a federal law banning it — advanced to the full House of Delegates Monday after winning approval in House Finance.

Finance Committee members made no significant changes to the bill (Senate Bill 415), after rejecting proposed changes to prohibit wagering on smartphone apps, and to bar wagering on the personal performances of collegiate athletes.

State Lottery officials believe sports betting would be an attractive amenity for the state’s five casinos, which have been squeezed in recent years by competition from casinos in neighboring states.

Paul Barrett, chief accountant for the Lottery Commission, said the goal is to convert a maximum amount of currently illegal sports wagering into legal market, particularly to attract players from the 10 million out-of-state population that are within 90 miles of one of the five casinos.

“We believe 70 percent of our traffic will come from out-of-state,” he said.

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