Self-exclusion sports betting bill en route to Gov. Justice’s desk

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Image: Shuttersock

The West Virginia Legislature has passed a self-exclusion sports betting measure into law.

The bill, which is headed for Gov. Jim Justice’s desk, means that an individual can be banned from sports betting if they have “harassed or shown a harmful pattern of conduct directed at a sports official, coach or any participants of a sporting event.”

House Bill 4700 passed out of the Senate with an amended title of “banning certain persons from sport wagering activities” on March 8. The House then passed the Senate’s amendment on the same day allowing for the legislative action to be completed before the close of the 60-day legislative session on March 9.

The legislation, introduced by state Delegate Shawn Fluharty in January, has been added to the existing West Virginia Lottery Sports Wagering Act, which was signed into law in 2018.

The bill states that anyone found guilty will be notified of the commission’s intent to ban them from sports betting and also the person will be given a hearing in front of the commission.

Similar legislation was implemented in Ohio’s 2023 state budget bill as a way to protect athletic participants following threats made against the men’s basketball program at the University of Dayton.

The NCAA president Charlie Baker also mentioned the impact of gambling-related harassment against other college athletes during his first State of College Sports address in January. Baker mentioned the mental health of student-athletes and the steps the NCAA is taking to alleviate the issues.

“Sports betting is basically everywhere, especially on campuses, and the harm it can cause is real,” Baker told the more than 2,600 attendees at the convention. “Every conversation about the team, the competition, and the health and well-being of their teammates is not just chatter anymore but currency for some and inside information for others.”

The NCAA will also be working with Signify Group to analyze online messaging.