Even with its industry up and running, West Virginia sports betting rules continue to attract attention — this time from the NFL.
Sources tell Legal Sports Report that NFL lobbyists made their way to Charleston on Thursday for an upcoming House Judiciary committee hearing.
The league is asking legislators to consider a series of requests as they review permanent WV sports betting rules. Those rules passed the House Finance committee earlier this week.
WV sports betting launched in August under temporary rules and regulations issued by the West Virginia Lottery Commission. Five sportsbooks are operating in the state, including mobile wagering through BetLucky.com.
NFL new to the party in WV sports betting
As West Virginia sports betting made its way through the state legislature last year, the NBA and MLB led the lobbying charge. Those leagues pushed for an integrity fee, first asking for 1 percent of handle before stepping back to 0.25 percent.
Keep in mind that the NFL never asked for a similar fee. While the league supports federal sports betting legislation and official data mandates, it does not back the fee, or royalty as the leagues now want to call it.
Despite support from Gov. Jim Justice, the leagues failed both at the legislature and later in the rulemaking process. Justice maintains close ties with the leagues, in part through his family’s ownership of The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia.
Professional teams including the NFL’s Houston Texans and NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans have held training camps at the resort in past years. The PGA Tour, which stands with the NBA and MLB, also hosts an event at The Greenbrier.
What the NFL asked for in final rules
According to LSR sources, the NFL requests for WV sports betting rules appear rather tame:
- Annual submission of employee list from NFL to West Virginia. This would prevent league employees from wagering in the state.
- Allow NFL comment on proposed bet types. The league would have input on wagers offered, but not control of any final decisions.
- Require state officials to work with NFL investigators if the league finds its internal betting rules are violated. West Virginia regulators would be allowed to make the decision as to whether they agree with league findings.
Whether the leagues will have any success swaying the Judiciary committee after failing to move to Finance committee remains to be seen. Suffice it to say, WV sports betting rules remain a living, breathing beast, even a year after their inception.
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