State Gaming Chief Calls For West Virginia Law Banning Abusive Sports Bettors

The NCLGS President wants West Virginia to adopt an athlete protection bill that bans abusive bettors. [Image:]

Ban abusive bettors President of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS), Delegate Shawn Fluharty, has called on legislators in West Virginia to establish a law banning individuals who abuse athletes online from betting.

power to ban bettors if their abuse of sports stars is seen as threating

At an NCLGS conference in Florida last week, Fluharty pointed to a bill passed in Ohio that gives regulators the power to ban bettors if their abuse of sports stars is seen as threatening.

The NCLGS chief stated that even if Ohio regulators banned abusive bettors in their state, because West Virginia doesn’t have a similar law, “they can come here and still bet on sports.”

Fluharty’s comments at the Fort Lauderdale conference came ahead of his scheduled attendance at the 60-day session of the West Virginia Legislature starting Wednesday in Charleston. Fluharty, whose NCLGS is the only body of state lawmakers that convenes regularly to discuss gaming-related issues, plans to introduce athlete protection legislation to the West Virginia legislature.

Focus on athlete protection Fluharty, only recently appointed chief by the NCLGS, used the Florida conference to affirm the national body’s position.

Cited by The Intelligencer, Fluharty as stated the NCLGS is a “bipartisan organization comprised of policymakers and regulators focused on gaming policy and consumer protection laws.” He said the body was tackling numerous sports betting issues at both consumer and advertising levels, and was doing this by ensuring it was keeping “up to date in our laws.”

Foremost in Fluharty’s mind at the winter conference was athlete protection, and he gave an example of a West Virginia University football game. “Imagine you had a bet on WVU football, the running back fumbled and you lost your bet. If you were then to go on Twitter and threaten the player, we would then be able to ban that individual from participating in sports betting.”

identify bettors who are abusive rather than “merely annoying.”

The NCLGS executive said such laws would identify bettors who are abusive rather than “merely annoying.” Pointing out West Virginia’s track record as a US gaming industry frontrunner, Fluharty said the state could now also be at the forefront of consumer protections.

Laws needed The ability to ban threatening bettors has become necessary given the spike in online threats during 2023.

In November, Phoenix Suns’ Kevin Durant roasted NBA bettors who lose parlays and abuse him, saying: “Yall ain’t real.” Previously, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson had also had enough when he said he didn’t give a damn about bettors’ parlays, while Miami Heat’s Jimmy Butler memorably hit back with humor to silence a courtside bettor who was haranguing him.

While the latter bettor was perhaps “merely annoying,” Fluharty seems on a mission to ensure abusive individuals suffer consequences for their actions.

Global Gaming Business magazine named Fluharty one of the “25 People To Watch” in 2024 for the impact he’s made on US gaming. Via his role as a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, he played a key role in getting the state to legalize both sports betting and iGaming.