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Powerball sales boost state Lottery revenues for November

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Sales for a record Powerball jackpot in November helped temporarily stem a decline in West Virginia Lottery revenues.

Fueled by the record $587.5 million jackpot, Lottery online ticket sales nearly doubled in November, from $5.8 million in October to $11.2 million.

State Lottery marketing director Nikki Orcutt said that on the day of the jackpot drawing, Nov. 28, state Lottery retailers were selling 130,000 Powerball tickets a minute.

Even with the surge of Powerball sales, overall Lottery revenues of $109.5 million for the month were up just $4.5 million over October, and down $4.4 million from $113.9 million in November 2011.

"Our racetracks are still struggling from a competitive basis," Jim Toney, deputy director for finance, told the Lottery Commission on Thursday.

Video lottery revenue at the four racetracks -- the largest revenue source for the Lottery -- was $50.6 million, down $8.6 million from November 2011, as new casinos in Ohio continue to draw business away from the West Virginia facilities.

Since July 1, year-to-date revenues for racetrack video slots are $277.7 million -- down $35.6 million, or about 13 percent, from the same point in 2011.

Meanwhile, revenues from limited video lottery offered in 1,494 bars and clubs around the state increased over 2011 figures.

November revenues for video lottery were $32.3 million, up about $400,000 over November 2011. Year-to-date video lottery revenues of $164.3 million are up $4.4 million over 2011.

Overall, the state's share of Lottery profits, $46.2 million for the month, is down about $4.2 million from November 2011. Year-to-date profits of $240.6 are down $12.5 million from 2011.

Also Thursday:

• The Lottery Commission's Games and Rules Committee tabled a proposal to raise the check-cashing limit at the state's five casinos from $200 to $10,000.

Last month, Commissioner Dave Lemmon, a retired West Virginia State Police superintendent, objected to the increase, even though it was indicated that the maximum amount would come into play only at the casino at The Greenbrier resort.

"We're going to stay with the status quo at this time," Commissioner Michael Adams said Thursday.

Third-party check-cashing services available at three of the casinos are not bound by the limit, although commissioners were told last month those services limit the size of checks they will cash based on the balances in the individual's accounts.

• Revenue at The Greenbrier casino fell sharply in November, dropping from $828,640 in October to $493,974, a 40 percent decline.

Greenbrier video slots revenue fell from $433,105 in October to $277,696, while table games revenue dropped from $394,535 to $216,278. Table games gross receipts dropped from $1.12 million in October to $617,907 in November.

The state's four other casinos experienced small increases in table games revenues for November.

• Lottery Director John Musgrave announced that Toney is retiring this month, after 10 years of service to the Lottery.

• Orcutt advised that there was a winning $1 million Powerball ticket in Wednesday night's drawing sold in West Virginia. The ticket was sold at a convenience store in Harts, Lincoln County.

Lottery officials announced late Thursday that the winner had come forward and would be announced Friday morning.

Reach Phil Kabler at philk@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.


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