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West Virginia Bill Would Require Gambling Operators Share Data With Researchers

Written By Katarina Vojvodic on February 14, 2024
West Virginia's Capitol Dome

This week, two West Virginia legislators introduced a House bill that would require gambling operators to share data with academics for responsible gaming research purposes.

Speaker of the West Virginia House of Delegates, Rep. Roger Hanshaw joined by Shawn Fluharty, introduced House Bill 5668 on Feb. 13. The purpose of the bill is to create the Responsible Gaming and Research Act (RGRA), which would serve as a pattern for all future states considering the legalization of online casinos.

Fluharty is a president of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS), currently creating model iGaming legislation to assist states considering gambling expansion.

The 2024 legislative session is halfway through, which leaves West Virginia lawmakers less than two weeks to consider the passage of this and over 2000 other proposed bills.

The bill provides for gaming data collection and sharing for scholarly purposes

The Responsible Gaming and Research Act would apply to all state retail and online gambling operators.

As reported, the RGRA would obligate operators to provide anonymized player data to West Virginia University (WVU) monthly, quarterly, or annually.

The Minnesota Alliance on Problem Gambling called for data sharing to fight problem gambling when that state considered sports betting legislation last year.

Maryland has a similar initiative with a proposal to include data sharing with Morgan State University and Bowie State University.

RGRA to protect player privacy as West Virginia gambling market expands

One of six US states offering online casino games, the Mountain State is home to nine WV online casinos, including BetMGM, BetRivers, Caesars, DraftKings, and DraftKings.

Although having a population of only 1.7 million, West Virginia is a booming gambling state offering various betting options. Besides providing real-money online casinos and sports betting sites, the Mountain State offers daily fantasy sports.

West Virginia will soon offer its online poker players the possibility to compete against players in other legal states, as the state recently joined the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA). According to the West Virginia Lottery’s Executive Director, John Myers, WV online poker could launch later in the year.

Problem gambling is a significant issue that has been rising with the expansion of the US online gambling scene. Online operators collect user behavior data, allowing them to customize their products and bonuses to target and attract players.

Hanshaw and Fluharty want to make sure that RGRA would not compromise the privacy of West Virginia players.

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Katarina Vojvodic

Katarina Vojvodic is a lead writer for PlayUSA who lives in Toronto. Vojvodic provides coverage of the US gambling industry with a focus on US online casinos. Previously, she covered Ontario’s online gambling industry for Vojvodic holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Belgrade. Outside working hours, she can be found near the water with her husband and their two kids.

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