West Virginia Sports Betting Could Be Running Within 90 Days of Supreme Court Ruling

Posted on: March 22, 2018, 01:00h. 

Last updated on: March 22, 2018, 11:25h.

With a Supreme Court ruling on sports betting expected any day now, lottery officials in West Virginia say casino sports books could be up and running within 90 days of a positive decision.

West Virginia sports betting could be first to market
Sports betting is now legal in West Virginia, pending the SCOTUS decision, despite the fact that State Governor Jim Justice did not sign the bill. Lottery boss Alan Larrick believes the state can beat New Jersey into the market. (Image: Perry Bennet)

While SCOTUS could deliver a ruling at any time, the most likely date is now April 2. Typically the court releases rulings on Mondays when the justices are in session but not hearing arguments.

An April 2 ruling means that bookies would be taking bets in the Mountain State by mid-summer, in plenty of time for the new football season.

That’s of course, if SCOTUS opts to rule in favour of New Jersey and repeal PASPA, the federal law that prevents individual states from regulating sports betting within their borders.

 SCOTUS Decision 50/50 For Within the Month

West Virginia Lottery Director Alan Larrick told the Lottery Commission on Wednesday he believes the chances are good.

“I don’t know more than anyone else,” he said. “(But) the consensus is the court is going to rule 6-3 or 5-4 in favor of New Jersey.”

“If it’s a very narrow decision and only rules on the State of New Jersey that may not allow us to go forward,” he added. “Really, it will depend on what the actual decision is. Realistically, I don’t think the Supreme Court would take that up and issue a very narrow ruling.”

He puts the chances of hearing a SCOTUS decision within a month at 50/50. And he believes that West Virginia is well-positioned to be the first into the market, beating even New Jersey.

The Race for Sports Betting

“Everyone’s getting themselves ready,” he said. “We think we’re going to be the first out there. That’s why we’re really working really hard right now to be able to go forward as soon as we can.”

The West Virginia legislature passed legislation at the beginning of the month that would legalize sports betting at the state’s four casinos and for guests at the Greenbrier, the iconic Allegheny Mountains hotel.

While State Governor Jim Justice did not sign the bill, neither did he veto it, and it became law on March 9.

The West Virginia Lottery Commission will oversee all sports betting in the state and hopes to offer services itself, via its website and a mobile app.

The Commission is gambling that sports betting will generate $5 million for state coffers in its first year, $13.4 million by the third year and $28.7 million by the fifth year.

“Sports betting is going to be beneficial to the casinos in West Virginia,” he said. “We’re hoping getting those folks in the casinos will not only get people playing sports betting, but also the tables, and they’ll end up staying there (in nearby hotels).”