The state of West Virginia was one of the first to legalize sports betting following the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of the ban. Now they’re handing out even more gambling licenses for sportsbooks with access to mobile betting. Illinois still hasn’t legalized the act yet, but a few key bills may change that in the current legislative session. Here’s what both states are doing!
Sports betting has been legal in West Virginia for about six months now, but it certainly hasn’t been easy for bettors to place their wagers. While there isn’t an explicit law forbidding mobile or online sports betting, only two of the five eligible sports betting casinos instituted any form of mobile app. Both of those casinos stopped offering the service last month due to a dispute over the contract with the technology provider.
Without mobile sports betting offered, bettors must travel in-person to a physical casino to place their bet. This has a directly negative impact on gambling revenue, as fewer people are likely to participate. The two casinos that offered mobile sports betting through an app aren’t likely to bring the service back until they resolve their current contract issues and/or find a new provider entirely.
Fortunately for West Virginians, that doesn’t mean that online sports betting is completely out of the question. As a matter of fact, the state’s Lottery Commission approved a handful of licenses to sportsbooks on Wednesday.
Despite the new licenses, it is unlikely any casinos will make any action right now. This is because there is a challenge case regarding the Wire Act currently being discussed in the U.S. District Court. The decision will impact how data is transferred across state lines, which certainly impacts the ability of West Virginia casinos to accept mobile app bets.
This means that West Virginia is certainly hoping to open up sports betting, as their new licenses make their intention clear. We’ll just have to wait for the District Court to finish their opinion of the Wire Act.
No, sports betting is not legalized yet in Illinois, but that doesn’t mean the state isn’t gearing up to expand. You can tell this is happening because of how lawmakers are handling other bills related to gambling.
Two weeks ago, the Senate approved a bill that allows riverboat casinos within the state to physically move locations to wherever they wish. Obviously for a casino out in the water, their natural inclination will be to move closer towards land, where eager bettors await.
The Senate’s willingness to approve a gambling bill is a great sign for how they’ll feel about sports betting. Furthermore, Chicago sports teams are supporting a plan led by the MLB, NBA, and PGA. This plan would earn the involved sports league 0.25% in earnings for each bet.
On Thursday, a subcommittee within the state’s House also discussed the legalization of sports betting. Their outlook has not been announced, but the state of Illinois is clearly making moves towards legalizing sports betting.