MLB, NBA concerned about W.Va. sports betting bills

Remigio Civitarese
Febbraio 15, 2018

That depends on who you ask.

Dominion Energy, the state's biggest utility and most generous corporate campaign donor, helped write the legislation and denies that it permits double-dipping.

In a change of tone from its earlier testimony during similar efforts in NY, the National Basketball Association (NBA) also denounced the bill in a written statement, saying: "We appreciate the Legislature's work on the subject of legalized sports betting; however, we do not believe the bill now under consideration will achieve the critical goals of protecting consumers and the integrity of our league".

"The House has endorsed everything in the bill". The Senate passed its version of the bill on Friday. David Toscano aims to make sure that electric utilities can not effectively charge customers twice for some capital spending. But with President Trump withdrawing those regulations, lawmakers want to shift authority back to the State Corporation Commission to oversee Dominion's rates.

"If there's going to be a change in the regulatory structure with respects to sports gambling, we needed to be in a position to meaningfully engage and shape, try to shape what the new regulatory scheme looks like."

Using the spending to cancel out refunds in future rate review periods and then packing it into the rate base, on which the utilities earn a return, is the same as paying twice, opponents contend. Introduced by Delegate Terry Kilgore (R-Wise County) & Delegate Lamont Bagby (D-Richmond), HB 1588 was improved greatly by an amendment introduced by Delegate David Toscano (D-Charlottesville) to eliminate the infamous "double dip".

Kilgore opposed the amendment, comparing the new model Dominion wants to a used-car buyer who gets a new vehicle for the same monthly payment as his old auto.

"We can see it better when someone is only placing bets when a certain referee is involved", he said. The opposition was all Republican.

Habeeb said leaving the voting record as it was could have created an impression that Republicans opposed the amendment on principle.

The bill passed on a 25-15 vote Tuesday, though no one spoke against it at the end of a long day on the Senate floor at the midpoint of the General Assembly session.

Bills at the state Capitol are both pending in the House and Senate Finance Committees.

Toscano later ascribed a more practical motivation to the Republicans' sudden switch.

Ward said the sports leagues also should be compensated for the money they've spent developing the honor of their sports over the decades. "That's fine. I'm glad they all voted for it".

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