West Virginia is on the verge of allowing sports betting and supposing everything goes well, a hoard of new jobs may come to the Northern Panhandle. One of the biggest beneficiaries of this will be the Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack and Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort which will get quite a big boost.
According to the Eilers and Krejcik gaming research firm, about 700 full-time jobs will be created at the local tracks within the next five years thanks to sports betting. Also, an estimated additional 930 full-time jobs will be created in the state within the same five-year period – the economic impact from sports betting during this period would amount to $229 million.
The firm further predicted that the state would amass annual tax revenues amounting to up to $13.4 million in the first year based on a proposed tax rate of 10 percent on overall gross revenues from sports betting. By the fifth year, the amount is anticipated to rise to about $28.7 million.
The West Virginia Legislature is currently considering a bill that will make sports betting legal in the state in the likely case that Congress acts to legalize sports betting or the United States Supreme Court acts to permits states to venture into sports betting. These bipartisan measures were crafted by lawmakers who had worked alongside West Virginia Lottery Commission’s officials. The legislation will allow the tracks to be in charge of their own sports books as well as monitoring of sports betting activities. However, they would still be under the Lottery Commission’s vision.
“The casinos have the existing regulatory infrastructure in place, and the experience in the industry to implement sports betting in a secure environment and in a timely fashion,” said Senate Majority Leader Ryan Ferns, R-Ohio. He mentioned that the lottery will be responsible for regulating sports betting in the same way as other casino games offered at the tracks and at the Greenbrier.
With the new legislation, West Virginians will not only be able to wager on sports game but they will also be allowed to bet on specific aspects of the game. Other gaming products like in-game betting will also go a long way in enhancing player experience and hopefully lure them away from the rampant illegal sports betting.