WV Lottery revenue expected to top $1 billion despite slow pace

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West Virginia Lottery gross revenues will have topped $1 billion for the 15th consecutive year, but they needed all 12 months of the budget year to reach that landmark.

That’s the slowest pace since the first year the Lottery broke the $1 billion threshold, in the 2002-03 budget year.

Through May, with one month left in the 2016-17 budget year, the Lottery has grossed $990.98 million, down nearly $59 million from the $1.049 billion from the same point in 2016.

It’s much lower than the record year of 2006-07, when the Lottery broke the $1 billion mark in February en route to $1.56 billion of gross revenue — the last year before competing casinos began springing up in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Maryland, siphoning away customers and gaming dollars from West Virginia.

The downward trend continued in May, when the Lottery took in $92.72 million, down 4 percent, or $3.85 million, from May 2016, as all categories — traditional online and scratch-off games, racetrack video lottery and table games, and Limited Video Lottery in bars and clubs — saw revenue declines.

For May, the state’s share of Lottery profits totaled $44.78 million, down $2.1 million from May 2016.

The state’s share of profits to date is $461.11 million, down 5.5 percent, or $26.16 million, from the same point in 2016.

Also from Monday’s Lottery Commission meeting, table games revenue figures show Mardi Gras Casino in Nitro — the smallest of the state’s four racetrack casinos — moved into second place in revenue in May, at $1.23 million.

That’s ahead of Mountaineer Casino, at $1.22 million, and Wheeling Island Casino, at $385,078 — two Northern Panhandle casinos hit hard by competition from Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Hollywood Casino at Charles Town continued to top state table games revenue at $5.55 million for May, but that is significantly lower than revenue numbers prior to the opening of competing casinos in Maryland, including the newest, the MGM Grand National Harbor.

By comparison, in December 2012, the last month before competing casinos began to open in Maryland, Charles Town table games revenue topped $14.7 million.

Reach Phil Kabler at

philk@wvgazettemail.com,

304-348-1220 or follow

@PhilKabler on Twitter.

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