As the 2024 SBC Summit North America fast approaches, West Virginia Delegate Shawn Fluharty revealed to SBCAmericas some of the key ingredients that can lead to a better approach from lawmakers in 2025. 

As the President of the National Council of Legislators from Gaming States (NCLGS), Fluharty will be delivering a keynote at the event as he emphasises the importance of streamlining and optimising the process when it comes to legislation. 

Highlighting what he believes lawmakers should focus on when it comes to igaming expansion, he pinpointed the importance of ‘cannibalising the black market’.

He said: “All of those states are currently offering black market igaming, they’re just not seeing any revenue from it. Regarding cannibalisation, current igaming states didn’t have the cannibalisation talking point when considering legislation. Brick-and-mortar casinos continue to run strong in those states. 

“Pennsylvania has opened four new casinos since passing igaming. At the end of the day, lawmakers have the opportunity to raise new revenue without raising taxes, shrink the black market and provide consumer protections which currently do not exist. Those are sound policy objectives, not just political talking points.”

He also revealed that since announcing the iGaming Committee, the group has ‘received incredible feedback’. 

He continued: “We have partnered with the UK Gaming Commission, as they have the longest tenure in offering an igaming product and bring years of experience to the table. We will have consumer protection advocates, legislators and those operating in the industry at the table as well. 

“Certainly, most recent legislative sessions will play a role as they offer the most recent evidence of roadblocks to passage. While each state is unique, I believe we can produce a framework that will serve as a tool and catalyst to produce sound policy in states going forward, which is a goal for NCLGS and our members.”

Fluharty concluded by outlining that “collaboration is the most important issue that deserves more attention when considering legislation. When we were passing igaming (and sports betting) in West Virginia, we reached out to David Rebuck and New Jersey”. 

He continued: “We worked with our regulators, West Virginia Lottery, to get legislation across the finish line. Without that collaboration, it doesn’t happen. 

“Lawmakers need to realise that regulators are partners in this process, not adversaries. They should be included in the beginning. Doing so will show the public and your colleagues that you want an operable finished product, which also incentivizes lawmakers to support said legislation.”