West Virginia Looks To Pennsylvania For Online Casino Advice

Written By Kevin Shelly on December 30, 2019 - Last Updated on August 9, 2022

Pennsylvania’s approach to online casino gambling is something of a template for officials in West Virginia. Well, except on taxes.

Members of the West Virginia Lottery, which oversees all gambling in the state, recently met with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) officials to compare notes.

Metro News reported on the meeting.

WV looking to PA for the launch of online casinos

WV lottery director John Myers told the news site he came away feeling good about how his agency had approached its earlier launch of sports betting and his state’s ongoing plans to follow with online casino wagering.

Myers told Metro News of his discussion with PA officials:

“They are set up very familiar to how we are. It’s kind of a relief. It gave us a little confidence that we’re headed in the right direction.”

Both Pennsylvania and West Virginia are taking a very conservative approach to online gaming. In order to stay in line with the much-debated new Wire Act opinion, the states try to keep things entirely intrastate. For Pennsylvania, these separate servers threw a wrench in many PA online casino plans.

Most operators and game providers initially planned on relying on existing servers in New Jersey. Having to change to the new PGCB standards resulted in a slow rollout of online casino sites and online casino games. West Virginia server standards resulted in similar delays for sports betting operators like FanDuel.

Dough Harbach, a spokesman for the PGCB said assisting other gaming jurisdictions is commonplace, but underscores PA’s role in gambling.

“Our staff has assisted other jurisdictions both inside and outside of the United States as we gained maturity in our regulatory endeavors and looked upon as a leader in gaming oversight,” he said.

Online poker is a priority in the Mountain State

First up in WV is likely to be online poker.

PA launched its first online poker site on Nov. 4. While there is just one operator even now, poker had a strong opening month in the Keystone State.

Myers projected that his state’s venture into online casino wagering should go smoothly, given their learning experiences with sports wagering online.

“It’s not going to be as labor-intensive or to take as long to get out as sports wagering,” he told Metro News.

“The initial build-out of the iGaming system–they can almost take the new games, which will come in a suite and they can lay that right on top of a sports wagering-type of platform,” Myers told the news site.

Mountain State lawmakers earlier this year set up the framework for designing and implementing online casino wagering. Like online sportsbooks, the state’s five retail casinos will be licensed as operators for these sites.

Myers predicted launching early this coming summer. The state plans to implement emergency rules no later than July 1, then follow up with permanent regulations in 2021.

Tax rates far different in PA and WV

Myers told the news site he expects online casinos to bring in about the same kind of money as sports betting. Online casinos in WV will pay a tax rate of 15%.

On the other hand, online slots in PA pay a whopping 54%  tax rate, and online table games pay 16%.

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Kevin Shelly

Kevin C. Shelly is an award-winning career journalist who has spent most of his career in South Jersey. He's the former assistant city editor of The Press of Atlantic City, where he covered the casino industry and Atlantic City government as a reporter. He was also an investigative, narrative enterprise, and features reporter for Gannett’s Courier-Post.

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