(a) The Legislature finds and declares that the limited video lottery games authorized by this article are "lotteries" as that term is commonly understood and as that term is used in West Virginia Constitution, article VI, section thirty-six, the video lottery games authorized by this article being lottery games which utilize advanced computer technology; and that the Constitution grants to the Legislature the authority to establish, by general law, the manner of regulation, control, ownership and operation of lottery games in the state of West Virginia.
(b) The Legislature further finds and declares that the state can control, own and operate a video lottery by possessing a proprietary interest in the main logic boards, all erasable, programmable read-only memory chips used in any video lottery equipment or games, and software consisting of computer programs, documentation and other related materials necessary for the video lottery system to be operated. The state may acquire a proprietary interest in video lottery game software, for purposes of this article, through outright ownership or through an exclusive product license agreement with a manufacturer whereby the manufacturer retains copyrighted ownership of the software but the license granted to the state is nontransferable and authorizes the state to run the software program, solely for its own use, on the state's central equipment unit and electronic video terminals networked to the central equipment unit.
(c) The Legislature further finds and declares that the state can control and regulate a video lottery if the state limits licensure to a limited number of video lottery facilities located at qualified horse or dog racetracks, extends strict and exclusive state regulation to all persons, locations, practices and associations related to the operation of licensed video lottery facilities, and provides comprehensive law enforcement supervision of video lottery activities.
(d) The Legislature further finds and declares that since the public has an interest in video lottery operations and since lottery operations conducted pursuant to West Virginia Constitution, article VI, section thirty-six, and under this article represent an exception to the general statutory policy of the state concerning wagering for private gain, participation in a video lottery by a licensee or permittee under this article shall be deemed a privilege conditioned upon the proper and continued qualification of the licensee or permittee and upon the discharge of the affirmative responsibility of each licensee to provide to the regulatory and investigatory authorities established by this article any assistance and information necessary to assure that the policies declared by this article are achieved. Consistent with this policy, it is the intent of this article to preclude the creation of any property right in any license or permit issued by the state under this article, the accrual of any value to the privilege of participation in any video lottery operation, or the transfer of any license or permit, and to require that participation in video lottery operations be solely conditioned upon the individual qualifications of persons seeking such privilege.
(e) The purpose of this article is to define and provide specific standards for the operation of video lottery games at pari-mutuel racing facilities licensed by the state racing commission pursuant to article twenty-three, chapter nineteen of this code. The Legislature finds and declares that the existing pari-mutuel racing facilities in West Virginia provide a valuable tourism resource for this state and provide significant economic benefits to the citizens of this state through the provision of jobs and the generation of state revenues; that this valuable tourism resource is threatened because of a general decline in the racing industry and because of increasing competition from racing facilities and lottery products offered by neighboring states; and that the survival of West Virginia's pari-mutuel racing industry is in jeopardy unless modern lottery games areauthorized at the racetracks.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2012 1st Special Session