Betting On 2020 Presidential Election Causes Controversy in WV

By in Gambling Laws on
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2020 Election West Virginia

While the 2020 presidential election is still many months away, it seems as though people in West Virginia were about to make things “interesting” in regards to who they thought would become the next president.

FanDuel Sportsbook applied for approval from the West Virginia Lottery to allow for legalized presidential betting, despite the number of legal questions that surrounded the bid. And while FanDuel Sportsbook did in fact gain approval, it seemed at first that the sportsbook had a change of heart.

Just a few hours after receiving the approval, FanDuel Sportsbook shocked bettors by removing this presidential prop bet at the request from the West Virginia Lottery and creating quite the controversy with residents and bettors.

Why the Change in Direction by FanDuel?

Outsiders began to wonder how a prominent sportsbook could go from listing these presidential odds to removing them within hours. What kind of pressure would’ve forced this move? The answer seems to point to the legal questions that were surrounding the approval in the first place.

Secretary of State Mac Warner commented on this controversial issue:

“I do not know the exact facts, but I can tell you it’s illegal, somebody jumped the gun, nobody should be betting on presidential elections in West Virginia or anywhere.”

Not only was Warner happy to hear that FanDuel will no longer be pursuing the venture, but he went one step further and stated that he has every intention of investigating how the launch was approved and came to be.

But is it illegal? According to the West Virginia Code, it seems that it is in fact illegal:

“It shall be unlawful to bet or wager money or other thing of value on any election held in this state. Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, he shall forfeit the value of the money or thing so bet or wagered and shall be fined not more than $50.”

And it seems this isn’t just reserved for the state of West Virginia, other states have also run into similar questions. Nevada rejected the same type of proposal just seven years ago in 2013.

FanDuel Follows Up with Its Own Statement

In light of the controversy, FanDuel has gone ahead and released its own statement regarding the matter, literally hours after the election betting approval made headlines.

“While the markets were approved, the West Virginia Lottery has asked FanDuel to refrain from offering the markets until they have time to fully work through the implications of this new market offering,” read the statement.”

The Governor Weighs In

Not long after FanDuel released its official statement on the matter, the Director of West Virginia Lottery John Myers took responsibility for this issue.

Myers stated that he and the West Virginia Lottery didn’t consult with Governor Jim Justice on this matter as they thought this type of prop bet would be okay. Myers was apologetic for the mistake and said that it should’ve never happened.

Speaking of the Governor, when he found out about the presidential betting odds, he immediately disapproved of it. Although he said these odds were humorous and ridiculous, Governor Justice does not want West Virginia to ever allow this type of betting.

Rick Rockwell

As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...

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