West Virginia Online Poker Law
West Virginian online poker players only have to remain patient because, according to the state’s lottery director, online gambling is “the way of the future.”
West Virginia is home to tracks with casinos and card rooms, but they have seen a significant loss in revenue because neighboring states — particularly Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Maryland — have legalized casino gambling.
State lottery revenues are also declining, making it obvious that online poker and gambling will be coming to West Virginians before most other states.
Look to West Virginia to enter an agreement with Delaware, which legalized online poker and gambling in 2012 and went live with games in late 2013. Industry insiders speculate Delaware is trying to contract with other states to build an interstate gambling network, and some say West Virginia is one of the states most likely to join it.
This would be the fastest way for online poker tol come to players in West Virginia. If this doesn’t happen, look for an online poker and gambling bill to emerge that is very similar to Delaware’s law.
But let’s imagine an interstate contract does get done. Delaware contracts with one online poker and gambling provider, 888 Holdings, a publicly traded giant with a significant presence in the online-casino industry. Remember the days of Pacific Poker? That was 888 Holdings. Founded in 1997, it merged with Ladbrokes in 2006. It’s the same company that is contracted to run Nevada-based WSOP.com’s platform.
So, West Virginians will most likely be allowed to play on an 888 Holdings-created platform, a company that has proven itself with a history of stable and safe poker networks.
Besides West Virginia’s lottery director’s enthusiastic proclamation that online poker and gambling is the wave of the future, no bills concerning online poker and gambling have been submitted or talked about. The director himself said no bills are ready.
The inaction can be interpreted as another sign that West Virginia will contract with another state (or even states) instead of building an online-poker industry within its borders.
When Can I Play Online Poker in West Virginia?
Look for some sort of movement on online poker legalization in West Virginia in 2014. If state lawmakers agree to contract with Delaware, West Virginians may get to play online in 2014. If lawmakers go an alternate route and decide to allow its two casinos to set up online poker sites — which will eventually happen, even if they first contract with other states — then it will take longer, probably until 2015 or 2016. But online poker will come to West Virginia by 2016. Write it down.