You may remember a little while back, we did ponder whether West Virginia would follow a number of other states in clarifying the legality of esports betting in the state.
Well, the prospect of esports betting in West Virginia has now moved a step closer after House Bill 4826 was read and passed for the third time by the House and has now been moved on to the final stage of the process; approval by the state Senate.
If, as expected, Bill 4826 is passed by the Senate, then West Virginia would become the latest state to agree to allow esports betting alongside sports betting.
The state was one of the first to allow sports betting in 2018 following the repeal of PASPA, allowing customers to bet at retail outlets and online in the state.
One of the most pleasing aspects of the bill is that it does give a clear definition of what West Virginia at least will view as an esport.
It states that esports is any “Electronic sport or competitive video game played as a game of skill for spectators.”
The bill, which has been sponsored by Moore Capito, Steve Westfall, Bennett Queen, Shawn Fluharty, Clay Riley, Daniel Linville and William Nestor, makes it clear that if you are a licensed sportsbook within the state, then you will be allowed to offer esports betting on any professional event that fits the category and provided that it does not conflict or breaks the states rules on betting on minors.
First Of A Number Of States?
With Nevada and New Jersey leading the way, West Virginia is expected to be just one of a number of states that may well extend their legislation on sports betting within the state to include at least some aspects of esports.
While the fragmented nature of sports betting and esports betting remains across the United States, it is clear that many states that currently do not allow esports betting, or who have not regulated it officially, may well be seeking to do so.
Especially after recent predictions showed that revenue from the global esports betting industry could increase from around $15bn in 2020 to $205bn by 2027.
It remains to be seen whether West Virginia will put certain limitations on esports betting such as those that are in place in New Jersey where maximum bets are limited to $100, maximum returns to $500 and the only tournaments allowed are those on a pre-approved list.
However, the broader definition in use on the Bill does seem to indicate that West Virginia may be able to offer a wider selection of esports bets than New Jersey does.
That said, with the Bill still set to go before the Senate, it may well be the case that some changes are required before it can be passed into law.
There is no time stated for the passing of the Bill through the senate, but a similar process in New Jersey took about a year, but esports fans in West Virginia may be hoping that their Senate passes the bill a little more quickly than that.