West Virginia is joining the fraternity of states that have decided to give a legal status of their betting & gaming opportunities. Naturally, there has been much opposition, but also a fair bit of endorsement, sufficient apparently, to finalize matters in a way that’s agreeable to everyone.
West Virginia Goes Legal
The legalized sports betting initiative in West Virginia is launching with the help of a law that has been designed to help other states across the United States to elaborate their own legal framework and bring sports betting to fore, following the repeal of PASPA back in May 2018.
The opening ceremony for a new sportsbook was held at Hollywood Casino, Charles Town Races in Jefferson County on Saturday. The time and date were not chosen randomly. They coincide with the college American football season. Even though the official ceremony took place on Saturday, the facilities opened up to a point on Thursday, preparing everyone for the oncoming bonanza of sports betting opportunities.
Delegate Jason Barrett commented on the event, noting that the way West Virginia had conducted the legalization of its own sports betting industry can be used for a stepping-stone by other states who are seeking to work out a solution for their own states.
Numbers are looking pretty good, too, with the additional revenue the state is going to get through gaming estimated to reach $5.5 million. However, one other estimate clearly expects these numbers to inch closer to $17 million after the first year. If these numbers come to pass, it will definitely be one of the most substantial investments the state has ever made in the entertainment sector.
William Hill, the UK-based operator, has been making a tremendous push all throughout the United States, preparing itself to launch in earnest across all states and pushing for regulated sports betting activity. Will Hill is already working with a West Virginia operator.
Sports Betting Is a Controversial Topic
Sports betting, naturally, entails risks. The United States has hardly the experience of assisting problem gamblers or bettors. A massive go-ahead for sports betting could potentially mean financial loss for states. Why the potential dangers, you may wonder?
If individuals are allowed to play ad lib without any reliable oversight and social checks, other than operators paying tax, there may soon be vast swathes of gamers who are spending well over their purchasing power. This will in turn spawn hordes of addicts, which would sooner or later press states into spending on programs to address that, perhaps panicky and inefficiently at first, before they realize that preventive measures would have by far more efficient than any alternative.
However, for a massive anti-addiction framework to come together, there will be the need for a public acknowledgement that matters are grave enough to warrant such action. Difficult to prove, especially at a time when all eyes are set on making sports betting legal rather than opposing it in any way.
Even the slightest hindrance could have upsetting results. But wouldn’t it be equally upsetting for the industry to fall victim to a common trap?