CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Given the scope of the task, the switchover from old to new Limited Video Lottery licenses has gone relatively smoothly, with no major system outages or significant loss of revenue for the state, Lottery Director John Musgrave said Wednesday.
As of Wednesday, 6,814 LVL machines were in operation under the new licenses, a decline of about 900 machines since June, when the old 2001-2011 licenses were in effect.
The old licenses expired at 3 a.m. July 1, at which point any unlicensed LVL machines were put out of service.
Beginning last fall, the Lottery bid out 7,500 new 10-year licenses to operate video lottery machines in bars and clubs around the state, raising a total of $68.67 million.
While there are some locations that are awaiting installation of new machines, Musgrave said the transition has gone relatively smoothly.
"We are pleased with the way things have gone so far," said Musgrave, adding that daily revenue collections have remained relatively steady after the switchover.
"Our main concern was about maintaining a continuous revenue stream, and we think we've done that," he said.
Even with fewer machines online, Musgrave said revenues have remained steady since virtually all the top revenue-producing locations retained their LVL machines.
In fact, he said initial figures indicate that LVL revenue was higher during the Fourth of July weekend than it was during the holiday weekend in 2010.
However, an industry representative said the switchover has left many bars and clubs around the state without operating LVL machines -- particularly in the extreme Northern Panhandle.
"There's all kinds of places up here without machines," said Anthony "Herk" Sparachane, president of the West Virginia Amusement and Limited Video Lottery Association, and operator of Wheeling Coin, an LVL machine distributor.
The upper Northern Panhandle previously was primarily served by two LVL distributors, Ohio Valley Amusement in Moundsville and Ohio River Amusements in Weirton, which were licensed for a total of 880 machines.
After the bidding for the new 10-year licenses, which are in effect until July 1, 2021, only Ohio Valley Amusement is still in the LVL business, and with only 55 licenses.