Two major sports leagues concerned over proposed W. Va. sports betting bill

HARRISON COUNTY, W. Va. (WDTV) -- West Virginia House Bill 4396 and Senate Bill 415 advanced at the Capitol but two major sports leagues are concerned.

Both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees passed the bill that would legalize sports betting at five casinos in the state and it will now go to the House Finance Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.

If it passes at the end, sports betting would be regulated by the West Virginia Lottery. This also depends if the U.S. Supreme Court allows states to start sports betting.

Some lawmakers say one it's been reviewed, these bills can bring revenue to the Mountain State.

"I guess it would be better under the control of the West Virginia Lottery system and controlled by our state and our state receiving the benefits. West Virginia is in dire need of resources," said Delegate Mike Caputo (D-Marion).

Meanwhile, some lawmakers are against this bill. Delegate Tom Fast (R-Fayette) told Metronews that this bill is out of line from Republican principles. Delegate Ray Hollen (R-Wirt) also told the publication that this bill will feed addictions. Organizations that help those who have a gambling addiction say there are ways to help those in need.

"The are some key factors that we see when people are crossing the line on something that's fun to something can become devastating. For instance, when they start lying to their loved ones about how much they're gambling," said Sheila Moran, Director of Marketing and Communications for 1-800-Gambler.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) issued a statement regarding the proposed bill:

"We appreciate the legislature's work on the subject of legalized sports betting; however, we do not believe the bill currently under consideration will achieve the critical goals of protecting consumers and the integrity of our league. We hope that the legislature will examine these issues more closely and amend the bill to include necessary safeguards."

Major League Baseball (MLB) also issued this statement:

"Any sports betting legislation must include clear, robust and enforceable protections to mitigate any possible risks to our game. The Law quickly advancing in West Virginia unfortunately falls short of meeting those critical standards. We are hopeful the legislature will complete a significant overhaul of the law and bolster the protections. We would be happy to work with legislators and the Lottery Commission to improve the current language."