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Lottery still hurting from out-of-state competition

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A new budget year has started for the West Virginia Lottery but with out-of-state competition still squeezing revenue figures.

The Lottery had total revenues of $105.37 million in July -- down $10.65 million, or 9 percent, from July 2012.

Video lottery at the state's racetrack casinos brought in $53.69 million, down $7.15 million from July 2012, while table game revenues for the month fell about 28 percent from 2012 figures, at $4.72 million.

But Lottery Deputy Director Dean Patrick noted the commission had projected even steeper declines for the month, based on competition from casinos in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Conversely, The Greenbrier hotel casino fell nearly 18 percent below estimates, taking in $493,000 for the month. That was also down 38 percent from July 2012, which saw $794,000 of revenue, and down from $680,000 in June.

Limited video lottery, offered in 1,459 bars, clubs and fraternal organizations around the state, also fell 2.2 percent below projections, at $30.89 million. That was also down about $2.1 million from July 2012.

Traditional online and scratch-off games saw growth in July, at $15.56 million, compared to $14.57 million in July 2012. That was driven by a $534 million Powerball jackpot this July, which resulted in a 31 percent jump in sales of the $2 game tickets.

Overall, the state's share of Lottery profits for July was $46.36 million, down $5.3 million from July 2012.

Also at Friday's Lottery Commission meeting:

Lottery Director John Musgrave announced the commission will host a multistate conference for states that either offer or are considering legalizing video lottery.

"The purpose of this is to really start a program where the video lottery states can get together, probably once a year, and have a dialogue," he said.

The first conference is expected to draw participants from Oregon, South Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Delaware, Georgia, North Carolina and Maryland, and will be held at the Hollywood Casino in Charles Town Sept. 4-6.

Lottery marketing director Nikki Orcutt told commissioners that while Harry Seal celebrated his 66th birthday and claimed a $1 million Powerball jackpot prize Thursday, his luck was not entirely good.

While departing Charleston en route back home to Martinsburg Thursday, Seal was involved in a fender-bender on an interstate entrance ramp -- in a car he had borrowed from his boss, since one of his children was using his vehicle.

Orcutt said Seal and family members ultimately made it home Thursday -- after briefly being stranded on the side of the road with a giant Lottery check and helium balloons.

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


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