West Virginia Sports Betting Rules Not Yet Out For Public Comment

CHARLESTON — With one West Virginia casino already working with a company to provide sports wagering in time for football season, officials say sports betting will make it to the end zone.

But there may be a penalty flag on the field: The West Virginia Lottery Commission has yet to submit rules approved by the agency last week for public comment.

The deadline for state agencies to propose legislative rules for public comment was Wednesday. The Lottery Commission voted on 20 pages of rules to submit for public comment nearly a week earlier, on June 21.

Danielle Boyd, general counsel for the West Virginia Lottery, said the rules are pending acceptance through the eRule filing system.

“Once the review is completed, the rules will be available to view on the West Virginia Secretary of State’s website,” Boyd said.

According to the Legislative Rule-Making Review Committee, the Lottery Commission has emergency rule-making authority. The agency asked for more time to prepare its proposed rules before submitting them for public comment.

“The Commission voted to approve the emergency rules on the 21st; however, the Lottery received a 30-day extension to file the legislative rule that will be complementary to the emergency rule,” Boyd said. “The comment period requirements will be satisfied in a timely manner.”

Emergency rule-making authority allows Lottery to implement sports betting rules before the next legislative session.

Under normal circumstances, an agency submits rules for public comment by the June deadline. After that, they become agency-approved rules and go to the Legislative Rule-Making Review Committee, then later the full Legislature, for approval.

Part of those rules will include regulating what sources of sports information casinos can use when they set up their sports wagering operations.

“The rules will put all the necessary security and system requirements in place to implement sports betting, and the rules do specifically address risk management and monitoring, which includes verification of sports information/statistics,” Boyd said.

Boyd gave an update Monday on the sports betting legislation to the Joint Standing Committee on Finance during legislative interim meetings. According to the report, the goal is to have sports betting up and running in time for football season, which the report calls “ambitious, but realistic.”

The only places where sports betting is legal in West Virginia are in-state casinos: The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs; Hollywood Casino in Ranson; Mardi Gras Casino and Resort in Cross Lanes; Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort in New Cumberland; and Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack.

The report shows an example of a sports wagering app used by the Bogata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, N.J. The app uses geo-location to ensure users are within the borders of West Virginia when using the app.

SB 451, passed in March, permits wagering on the results of certain professional or collegiate sports or athletic events and other events authorized as West Virginia Lottery sports wagering activities. It went into law without Gov. Jim Justice’s signature to avoid a conflict of interest, as he is the owner of the Greenbrier Resort. The law was contingent on the U.S. Supreme Court legalizing sports betting, which it did in May.

The Greenbrier Casino was the first to announce a partnership with FanDuel to provide retail, online and mobile sports wagering services to the casino.

“We’re excited to be able to offer this service to those guests who are interested,” said Jill Justice, president of The Greenbrier. “The Casino Club at The Greenbrier has been an attractive destination for our guests and members since its opening, and sports betting provides yet another element to the casino experience.”

COMMENTS