West Virginia Market To Focus On Responsible Gambling With New Act

Written By Corey Sharp on February 14, 2024
Image representing responsible gambling with a hand stopping the falling blocks for a story about new legislation being introduced in West Virginia that would require operators to share data to help combat problem gambling.

Shawn Fluharty, Minority Whip in the West Virginia House of Delegates, has put responsible gambling at the forefront in the Mountain State. Fluharty, along with Speaker of the House, Roger Hanshaw, sponsored the West Virginia Responsible Gaming and Research Act (RGRA). The bill was just introduced in the House earlier this week.

RGRA would require operators to share information with West Virginia University for research purposes, which would help encourage responsible gambling in West Virginia.

West Virginia Responsible Gaming and Research Act officially introduced

Fluharty, also the president of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS), and Hanshaw proposed HB 5668 on Feb. 13. The bill is an add-on to the Code of West Virginia (1931) to support responsible gambling efforts.

It’s supposed to help the state gather more information on player behavior to better treat and prevent problem gambling. The bill reads:

“Any operator, management service provider, racing operator, sports pool operator, sports pool intermediary, Special Licensed Retailer, and/or iLottery operator or vendor is required to provide to West Virginia University on a monthly, a quarterly, or an annual basis, all transactional data and metrics related to their mobile gaming operations conducted in the state for the purpose of conducting research to assist the Department of Human Services, State Lottery Commission, or a successor agency or agencies, in ensuring the integrity of gaming or to improve state-funded services related to, or general understanding of, responsible gambling, and problem gambling.”

The data supplied by operators over the coming months and years would lead to a “comprehensive report” detailing the behavior of bettors in the Mountain State.

RGRA ensures privacy and consumer protections for players

Sharing information with other parties leaves more of a chance for details to get leaked. However, according to the bill, player privacy remains of the utmost importance.

The bill reads:

“Data thus shared is to be anonymized through hashing, or other means, excluding any personally identifiable information; not a public record, and is exempt from public inspection and copying under the West Virginia Freedom of Information Act.”

West Virginia University is also not permitted to share data with anyone else. It is required to use it only for “the purpose of conducting research.”

Fluharty and Hanshaw are making a concerted effort to monitor player behavior, which would ultimately help with problem gambling issues.

The proposed act would only better equip players to deal with these problems. It would also sustain the industry as people keep responsible gambling at the top of mind.

Photo by Shutterstock.com
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Corey Sharp

Corey Sharp is the Lead Writer at PlayWV bringing you coverage of the WV online casino market in the Mountain State. Corey is a 4-for-4 Philly sports fan and previously worked as a writer and editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer and NBC Sports Philadelphia.

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