The West Virginia Lottery reported that total sales in the state were down $64 million from projections for the month of April during a commission meeting Wednesday morning.
With zero revenue coming from table games and video lottery, as casinos, indoor restaurants and bars were shuttered for the entirety of April, the commission reported $18.2 million in traditional sales. In April 2019, the lottery reported $96.1 million in sales.
The net revenue for April was down $4.4 million for the lottery fund and $36.8 million for the excess fund. For this budget year, however, the lottery reported still being up $6.1 million in net revenue.
Lottery Director John Myers said during the meeting that, considering the circumstances, the lottery has not yet taken an insurmountable hit from the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our traditional sales have been running pretty steady, as [we] actually have exceeded some of the sales for the same time in previous years,” Myers said. “It’s been a surprise. I think we all were questioning what level of sales we would have with that.”
Sales for instant games, such as scratch-off tickets, were up $3.5 million this year from sales in April 2019. The 10-month total in sales for instant games this budget year — $109.5 million — is $14 million more than last year, when the lottery reported $95.5 million in gross revenue.
Racetrack video lottery gross revenue is down $73.1 million from last budget year, and limited video lottery gross revenue is $40.3 million from the same point a year ago.
Because of major sports tournaments being canceled in April, including NCAA March Madness, and the back end of the NBA and NHL seasons being postponed, sports betting revenue was just $12,000 this month, versus $62,000 a year ago. However, the annual gross revenue — $1.8 million — is far past last year’s $1.07 million reported amount.
With two months remaining in the 2019-20 budget year, lottery gross revenue totaled $823.4 million, down $125.7 million from the same point last year.
The lottery likely will miss an annual $1 billion gross revenue mark for the first time in 17 years. The largest amount came in 2007, when the lottery reported $1.56 billion in gross revenue.
For March, the lottery reported earning $51.02 million less in gross revenue than the same point last year. All casinos, restaurants and bars were closed in mid-March after Gov. Jim Justice declared the coronavirus state of emergency.
Casinos in West Virginia are permitted to reopen June 5 with some restrictions, including operating at 50% capacity.