Musgrave said that would require legislative action.
"I cannot change the legislation," he said. "It's not up to the Lottery. We follow the legislation given us."
Distributor Herk Sparchane asked whether the Legislature would offer matching funds for the LVL machine upgrades - as it did in 2011, providing up to $10 million a year of matching funds for 10 years to allow the state's four racetrack casinos to upgrade their video slots and gaming areas.
"I think we're entitled as West Virginia citizens to get some help, instead of the four out-of-state casinos," he said, referring to out-of-state ownership of those properties.
Several distributors questioned whether Lottery officials were aware the limited video lottery machines were on their way to becoming obsolete when the 10-year licenses were being re-bid in 2011.
Musgrave said Lottery officials had absolutely no indication at the time that IGT planned to phase out the old ICIS protocol, which is currently used for video slot systems in West Virginia and Louisiana only.
"We knew nothing about IGT's decision to end that protocol before we bid these licenses out," Musgrave said.
"It's an outdated protocol. It's an antique, and our industry needs to move forward," he added.
Carenbauer also said he believes that, under its 10-year LVL manufacturer's license, IGT has an obligation under state Lottery law to maintain continuous operation of all LVL equipment throughout the 10-year period, and could be required either under administrative edict or court order to continue to operate using the old protocol through 2021.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.