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Lottery revenues fell in January

 

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Headline: CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- State Lottery revenues continued to drop in January, falling 12 percent from January 2013 to $89.45 million, but Lottery Director John Musgrave said an analysis found the nine-county water contamination incident had only nominal impact on lottery sales.

"We did an assessment of limited video lottery facilities in the nine counties, and got a report from Tri-State," he said. "The impact was not significant."

Bars and clubs in the nine counties had to close briefly during a do-not-use order for tap water supplied by West Virginia American Water Co. following the Jan. 9 chemical contamination. The Mardi Gras Casino and Racetrack in Cross Lanes was also affected.

According to the lottery analysis, the water incident accounted for about $368,418 of the $8.86 million drop in revenue for the month, compared to December revenues of $98.13 million.

Mardi Gras Casino accounted for most of the water-related income loss, at $327,620. The casino remained opened, with all food service facilities closed, immediately after the chemical leak, but closed entirely from 4 p.m. on Jan. 16 to 9 a.m. on Jan. 17 after waterline breaks while flushing the system.

The lottery concluded that bars and clubs that briefly closed during the water emergency accounted for $23,798 in lost limited video lottery revenue, while it estimated lost revenue of $17,000 for sales of traditional scratch-off and on-line tickets in the affected area.

Meanwhile, racetrack video lottery at the state's four racetrack casinos continued to fall in January, as competition in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland continues to put a crunch on revenues. January video lottery revenues fell to $42.23 million, down $7.02 million from Jan. 2013, and down $3.04 million from December.

Table games at the casinos experienced a sharper plunge, with gross revenues of $3.88 million down 35 percent from Jan. 2013.

Charles Town's Hollywood Casino, by far the most profitable of the four facilities, had table games gross receipts of $7.5 million in January, barely half the amount of monthly receipts it was bringing prior to the opening of competing casinos in Maryland last year.

However, it still was more than the receipts of the other facilities and The Greenbrier casino combined, at a total of  $4.17 million.

Limited video lottery, which had been a consistent source of revenue before a downturn that started last summer, fell to $28.56 million in January, down $2.15 million from December, and down $2.3 million from January 2013.

Traditional on-line and scratch-off games also were down, at $14.2 million for January, compared to $16.9 million in December, and $14.9 million in January 2013.

The state's share of lottery profits for January was $40.17 million, down $2.89 million from December, and down $5.73 million from January 2013.

Year-to-date lottery revenues of $612.49 million are down 8 percent, or $51.97 million, from the same point in the 2012-13 budget year.

The state's share of lottery profits year-to-date of $263.93 million is down $24.74 million from the same point in the 2012-13 budget year.

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


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