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Abby Messick

Abby served as an associate editor for the Casino City editorial team for three years, between 2015 and 2018.

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Casino City's Friday Five: March Madness edition

16 Mar 2018

By Abby Messick
"Legislation" doesn't exactly scream fun, but it can result in fun when things go well. And it does look like things are going well, especially in West Virginia, where sports betting is primed to make an appearance. Malta's also switching things up a bit in terms of online gaming legislation.

We've also got some stats on March Madness, which are indeed a little – well, a lot – Mad.

5. West Virginia passes sports betting bill
Last week, West Virginia gave sports betting the OK… provided the federal ban outside of Nevada is lifted.

But the fact that the WV Sports Lottery Wagering Act has become law is most certainly a good sign, and puts the state on the map as the sixth state to legalize sports betting in recent years and the first to do it this year.

Interestingly, there already seems to be a hint of trouble brewing. West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, whose name makes him seem more "superhero" than "regular dude," called for lawmakers to reconsider the just-passed law, seemingly responding to pressure from the hotshots at Major League Baseball, who said in a statement that the bill currently houses "significant flaws."

In a press release, Gov. Justice said, "After the U.S. Supreme Court issues its decision on sports wagering, to address any provisions of the legislation that might be in conflict, I will ask the Legislature to look at the advantages of partnering with the major sports leagues. I believe there could be real value to this partnership. I expect the Supreme Court to rule on this issue in the next few months."

This may be a legitimate critique, or it may be capitulating to the MLB, who would like to see a little more revenue flowing their way.

4. Maltese Parliament introduces gaming bill
Malta's new Gaming Bill is a doozy: It'll repeal all existing legislation and replace it with something a little more organized, streamlining regulations and handing out neater guidelines.

Notably, the multi-license system will be replaced with a two-license alternative; the current player protection framework will be enhanced and strengthened; and B2B licensees will be exempt from the gaming tax, securing Malta's position as a competitive industry hub. Hon. Silvio Schembri, Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy & Innovation, believes the industry will grow by 4% once these changes are implemented.

But the bill was only just presented for a first reading this week, so, unfortunately, we've all got to wait and see how proceedings develop.

3. NetEnt's Mega Fortune Dreams online slot pays out €4 million
If I was reading today's Friday Five, I'd be thinking, "Well, that's dandy, but it's Friday, and I don't really want to think about things like taxes and frameworks. Where's the good stuff?" So here's a jackpot.

This €4,084,430.35 jackpot from the perennially popular Mega Fortune Dreams was bestowed upon a Swedish player at Unibet Casino last week, and counts as NetEnt's second multi-million euro jackpot this year.

2. AGA predicts $10 billion will be wagered on March Madness
Those of you in the U.S. who are taking part in March Madness have become part of a staggering statistic – part of the $10 billion that the American Gaming Association estimated will be wagered on the event. (Don't worry. We won't ask whether you're part of the $300 million – 3% – that was wagered legally.)

It turns out that Americans – about 24 million of them – spend a good $150 billion on illegal sports betting annually and that we should really, probably, definitely do something about that, since all that money is essentially being dumped down the drain and into black markets when it could be used for the benefits of states. (West Virginia recently came to that conclusion, as you've read.)

President and CEO of the AGA Geoff Freeman said in the press release, "Our current sports betting laws are so out of touch with reality that we're turning tens of millions of Americans into criminals for the simple act of enjoying college basketball." Well said, Mr. Freeman.

1. Top 10 ways to bet on March Madness
Speaking of March Madness, do you know how you're going to bet? There are quite a few options – dare we say too many? – and it can be difficult to decide where to start. Luckily, Casino City's Gary Trask is on the case, offering up the top 10 ways for you to place bets on this year's tournament.

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