A self-exclusion sports betting measure is progressing in the West Virginia Legislature.
House Bill 4700, introduced by state Delegate Shawn Fluharty last month, passed out of the Judiciary Committee on Friday and will transition to the House Floor for a vote.
The bill, which adds to the existing West Virginia Lottery Sports Wagering Act, looks to ban wagering for a person who “has harassed or shown a harmful pattern of conduct directed at a sports official, coach or any participants of a sporting event.”
HB 4700 mirrors similar language in Ohio that was implemented following threats against men’s basketball players at the University of Dayton. The language was added to Ohio’s state budget bill last year.
The NCAA has also taken a stance on gambling-related harassment as HB 4700 progresses.
Last month, NCAA President Charlie Baker discussed the impact of sports betting on college athletics during his first State of College Sports address. Baker mentioned the impact of wagering on the mental health of student-athletes and the steps the NCAA is taking to alleviate the issues. The NCAA has partnered with the NFL to update educational materials on sports betting.
The governing body will also be working with Signify Group to analyze online messaging.
West Virginia a budding sports betting market
The Mountain State reported a $46.4 million total sports betting handle in January, down 24% compared to the month prior due to a decrease in NFL and college football games. Despite the drop in handle, revenue closed at $6 million in January, a 65% increase compared to the same period last year.
West Virginia is home to nine online operators, including BetMGM, FanDuel, DraftKings, ESPN Bet, and others.