Sports Betting Harassment Bill Passes Through West Virginia House

Written By Corey Sharp on March 5, 2024
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West Virginia is attempting to eliminate any hostility toward players, coaches and referees involved in a sports game. A bill introduced in January that excludes bettors from threatening participants has moved through the West Virginia House.

The legislation, which did not pass last year, is picking up momentum. Hopefully this indicates a different result, promoting more responsible gambling in West Virginia.

Law that bans sports bettors for harassment is moving quickly

Shawn Fluharty, Minority Whip in the West Virginia House of Delegates, introduced this bill in January, hoping to put a stop to hurtful and hateful acts toward players, coaches and referees.

The West Virginia sports betting market is taking a page out of Ohio’s book, which implemented a similar law last year.

House Bill 4700 officially passed through the West Virginia House earlier this week. It’s another step closer to finally being enacted.

Fluharty has spoken candidly about the industry as a whole. He’s most recently talked about states collaborating with each other to be able to sustain a successful market across the country. On the Safe Bet Show podcast last November, Fluharty said:

“I border Ohio and Pennsylvania and if Ohio passes a law that says if you threaten a player we’re going to take away your ability to bet. But if we don’t share that information with West Virginia or Pennsylvania, then it doesn’t really have any teeth to it.”

Fluharty wants to eliminate the idea of a bettor getting banned in one state because of poor behavior, while still being able to wager in another state.

West Virginia to address responsible gambling with new act

There are a number of factors that can lead a bettor to harass a player. Failing to bet responsibly can possibly trigger this unacceptable behavior.

Fluharty and Speaker of the House, Roger Hanshaw, recently sponsored the West Virginia Responsible Gaming and Research Act (RGRA).

This piece of legislation allows West Virginia University to obtain data for research purposes. It would focus on player behavior, treatment and prevention of problem gambling.

Player identities would be protected from the public and West Virginia University would not share information with anyone else.

Having information on player behavior is almost certain to identify trends that lead to problem gambling, which can generate poor conduct.

Eliminating problem gambling altogether appears to be at the top of Fluharty’s agenda.

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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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