WV Sports Betting Regulators Near Power To Ban For Harassment


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WV sports betting

Aggressive West Virginia fans could see their WV sports betting privileges taken away from them under a recently passed law.

A bill allowing the West Virginia Lottery Commission to ban people from WV sports betting is heading to Gov. Jim Justice. House Bill 4700 advanced through the Senate unanimously last week following a 90-1 House of Delegates vote last month.

The Senate slightly amended the bill, requiring House concurrence, which lawmakers achieved with an 89-5 vote.

What WV sports betting harassment bill does

Del. Shawn Fluharty’s bill allows the WV Lottery Commission to ban individuals from sports betting if they are guilty of harassing athletes, coaches or officials during sporting events.

The charges can be misdemeanors or felonies related to assault or battery against the athletic participants. The commission can also place people on the excluded persons list if regulators deem them threatening to participants and officials.

Individuals will have the opportunity to request a hearing. 

Ohio led way on similar harassment rule

Neighboring Ohio passed a similar sports betting harassment rule last summer.

It allows Ohio regulators to ban bettors if found guilty of threatening athletes.

Ohio’s move came after University of Dayton men’s basketball coach Anthony Grant spoke about harassment players face on social media. Ohio also recently banned college player prop bets.

Athlete harassment not a new issue

Athlete harassment is not a new phenomenon and predates the expansion of US sports betting. 

With the influx of sports betting in the US, perhaps the most infamous case of sports betting harassment is that of Benjamin Patz, better known as “Parlay Patz.” In 2019, Patz sent multiple athletes, including NFL and MLB players and NCAA athletes, threatening Instagram messages.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation took on the case as part of the Integrity in Sport and Gaming Initiative and charged Patz in March 2020. Patz pled guilty in March 2021 and was sentenced to 36 months probation. He is also prohibited from gambling.