West Virginia Legislature passes esports betting bill

West Virginia Legislature on Friday forwarded a bill to Gov. Jim Justice’s desk that would allow operators to accept bets on esports events. 

House Bill 4826 classifies esports within the sporting discipline, allowing West Virginia residents to wager on competitive gaming events in the same capacity they would a traditional sports game. The bill defines esports as “electronic sports or competitive video game played as a game of skill for spectators.”

If signed into law, licensed operators will be free to post and accept bets on esports without additional restrictions. HB 4826 was introduced in February and passed by both chambers in March, so the legislation will now likely take several months before coming into effect. 

West Virginia’s legal esports betting market would join Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Louisiana, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington.

In Iowa, a similar bill seeking to allow the state gambling industry to adopt cashless gaming and to legalize esports betting has passed the Iowa House of Representatives and moved to the Senate earlier this month.