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West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice appears to be determined to call a special session of the legislature in order to address the state’s recently passed sports betting law, in addition to other topics.
Justice held a press conference on Friday. Near the end, he was asked about whether he intends to call a special on sports gambling and other issues.
The state already has a law –passed in March — on the books that would take effect if the federal ban is struck down in the US Supreme Court sports betting case.
But the NBA and Major League Baseball are unhappy with the WV sports betting law, as it gives them none of what they have been lobbying for across the country. That includes no “integrity fee” payable to the leagues.
Interestingly, Justice neither signed nor vetoed the sports betting bill, allowing it to become law without his signature. If he had wanted to fix the sports betting bill, it seems strange that he didn’t even see hit to veto it.
Here’s the part of the presser on sports betting, when asked about whether the plan is to have a special session:
Justice: I think so, in fact, I know so, we’re trying to get some more information back on the sports betting, is that correct? Or we’re waiting on that, we’re going to have a meeting with the leagues and everything…
Aide: Yeah, there’s a meeting set up in about a week with all the stakeholders on that.
Justice And I think even the PGA is coming in, and maybe even the NCAA also is coming in. I think we’re just gathering a little bit more information, I really believe that we need to bring them under the umbrella for the amount of the fee that they wanted, or we negotiated.
They wanted a percent, we negotiated to a quarter of a percent and if we can get them to sign on for that and everything and bring them under the umbrella, I think that’s very very minimal cost to the casinos, and I think it would be a good thing.
You can watch the whole thing here.
A lot of what he said seemed like stream-of-consciousness, so let’s look closer:
The state already has a sports betting law, and revisiting it to give pro sports leagues — and not the state’s casinos or the state government — more money seems like a stretch.
The only groups with a real presence in the state are the PGA Tour — which holds an event at The Greenbrier — and the NCAA, with a pair of Division I schools in the state. (Justice owns The Greenbrier.) There are also minor league baseball teams in the state.
But the NBA and MLB have obviously lobbied their way to a position where the law could be put back into play. This week’s meetings might provide more insight.