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Senate Finance Committee discusses sports betting bill

Senate Finance Committee discusses sports betting bill

The Senate Finance Committee discussed about the bill that would legalize sports betting in West Virginia. The discussion went on for 90 minutes but they went for recess without taking any action.

Committee Chairman Sen. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, called a recess before making five anticipated amendments to the Senate Bill 339.

Senate Bill 339 has been proposed to allow sports  betting at the Mountain States four casinos and at the Greenbrier. Control and regulation of sports betting would come under the jurisdiction of the West Virginia Lottery Commission.

Danielle Boyd, Lottery Commission attorney explained that those who are placing bet on a game would get $7 out of every $10. The casinos would get a share of about $2.70 and state would get 30 cents. She stated that legalizing sports betting would generate about $4.75 million revenue for the state in the first year.

The lottery officials eventually aim to add cell phones apps which would people to place their bets online. Boyd said,"Lottery officials think that eventually two-thirds of sports bet would be placed using apps."

Scott Ward, a lawyer spoke on the behalf of National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball that the teams must get their share too. Ward has proposed 1 percent share of the bet to be set aside for teams.

According to Scott, sports league should use official game results to settle bets and he also wants the state to share the information of betting with league. Morever, he has proposed prohibiting atheletes from betting on their own sports.

The NBA and MLB has opposed the current bill in a statement on Monday.

'we appreciate the efforts put by the Legislature on the subject of legalized sports betting; but we do not believe that the current bill would be able to protect consumers and integrity of our league,' said Mike Bass, Vice president of communications for the NBA.

 "We request Legislature to examine these issues closely and to include necessary measures for safeguarding the standards of sports," he added.

Boyd voiced her concern over the sports wagering that is already going on illegally. She said that state's black market of sports wagering is already about worth $250 million

She told, "West Virginia should fetch advantage from legalized sports betting."

"It is very necessary for us to be one of the first into the market," she added.