CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Hundreds of limited video lottery machines in bars and clubs around the state could be out of commission for days -- or even weeks -- after new 10-year video lottery licenses go into effect on July 1, Lottery Commission officials advised Wednesday.
"We can't have everybody up and running on July 1. That is just impossible," Lottery co-counsel Monica Robinson told video lottery retailers and operators during a video lottery machine manufacturers' expo at the Charleston Civic Center Wednesday.
She said it will take at least two weeks to get all the machines up and running after the new licenses go into effect July 1.
Unlike the introduction of limited video lottery in 2001, when licenses were gradually bid out, and new locations phased in, all 7,852 video lottery machines now in operation will shut down at 3 a.m. on July 1.
When the next operating day starts a few hours later, there will be no more than 7,500 machines licensed -- and just where those machines will be located and under what ownership won't be entirely clear until a third and final round of bidding on the 2011-21 licenses is certified in mid-June.
That is likely to cause a logistical nightmare -- with many current locations losing licenses, reducing the number of licensed machines, or replacing machines leased from video lottery operators with machines purchased by the retailers.
Robinson said the Lottery is asking retailers and operators to provide lists by June 17, advising how many machines will need to be activated on July 1, how many are being moved to new locations, and how many are to be disabled, destroyed or moved out-of-state.
"Don't submit your paperwork at 5 p.m. on June 30, and expect to be activated on July 1," she advised. "That's probably not going to happen."
A complicating factor is that the Lottery's central computer system -- which operates all 18,000 racetrack and limited video lottery machines statewide -- cannot activate more than 10 retail locations per day.