The revenue from West Virginia sportsbooks led to a contribution of over $1,000,000 in taxes to the state- so far.
Sports betting in West Virginia has only been legal for about eight months and online betting for only about two months. And for a state that needs money, every bit helps.
How it started, where it’s heading
The West Virginia legislature passed sports betting legislation in March of 2018 ahead of an anticipated change in federal law making sports betting legal.
The law assessed a 10% privilege tax on sports betting revenues for the WV sportsbooks:
- Hollywood Casino Sportsbook
- Mountaineer Sportsbook
- The FanDuel Sportsbook at The Greenbrier
- Wheeling Island Sportsbook
- Mardi Gras Sportsbook
It is worth noting that Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island suspended their sportsbooks while its owner, Delaware North, seeks a new gaming partner. The BetLucky app, which supplied online sports betting to both of Delaware North’s casinos is also shuttered and is unlikely to return.
Now that the WV Lottery approved five new West Virginia sports betting licenses, the contribution to West Virginia is expected to increase significantly.
Three of those five licenses went to popular sports betting apps:
West Virginia sports betting revenue tax
The state places money from the tax on sports betting revenue into the West Virginia Lottery Sports Wagering Fund. The fund is used to pay the administrative costs associated with the management of sports betting in West Virginia.
Once the fund pays all the bills, the net profits go to the State Lottery Fund, along with other gambling net profits.
It is from this fund that the state distributes gambling money to support different West Virginia organizations supporting:
- Schools and education
- Senior citizens
- Tourism and state parks
The amount of sports betting taxes deposited into the State Lottery Fund is capped at $15 million. Taxes above $15 million goes to the Public Employees Insurance Agency Financial Stability Fund that provides medical insurance for West Virginia public employees.
WV sports betting giving back
As mentioned earlier, the Lottery Fund prioritizes disbursements to education, tourism and the elderly. Specifically, the funds are used to provide greater access to services that improve the quality of life for West Virginians.
For instance, besides technology upgrades and school renovations for WV public schools, the Lottery Fund established the PROMISE Scholarship Fund.
The PROMISE Scholarship is a merit-based financial aid program for West Virginia citizens. It helps pay for college to cover the cost of tuition and mandatory fees at public or independent institutions in West Virginia.
Another example includes the use of funds for senior centers, providing transportation services and property tax relief for seniors. Additionally, funds are earmarked to improve daily life at county elder homes.
It’s no secret West Virginia relies heavily on tourism for its economy. Some funds are used to specifically to increase tourism which in turn generates more funds for the state. Of course, more tourism also means more visitors to WV sportsbooks and casinos.