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State Lottery revenue continues to fall

By Phil Kabler, Staff writer

State Lottery revenues continued to slide in March, dragged down by declining profits at the state’s four racetrack casinos, all hard-hit by competitors in neighboring states, the monthly financial report to the Lottery Commission Tuesday shows.

For the month, gross revenues totaled $110.2 million, down $14.1 million or 11 percent, from March 2013.

Racetrack video lottery fell $7.4 million, to $53.46 million, while table games at the four casinos plunged 31 percent, to $4.18 million.

Limited video lottery at 1,439 bars and clubs around the state fell 6 percent to $35.17 million, while traditional scratch-off tickets and on-line drawings fell $1.6 million to $17 million, a decline attributed to harsh winter weather this March.

The state’s share of Lottery profits for the month, $49.19 million, was down $6.88 million from March 2013.

For the first nine months of the 2013-14 fiscal year, gross Lottery revenues are down $86.18 million, at $911.09 million.

Racetrack video lottery is down $49.87 million, at $441.1 million, a 10 percent drop, while table games are down 31 percent, at $38.2 million.

Overall revenues from The Greenbrier casino are also down about 6 percent year-to-date, at $5.4 million.

The state’s share of Lottery profits year-to-date of $397.39 million is down $41.41 million from the same point in fiscal 2012-13.

Also at Tuesday’s Lottery Commission meeting:

n Now that Jeff Carver of Belle has come forward to claim a $1 million Powerball ticket sold in December, Nikki Orcutt, deputy director for marketing, said there is only one unclaimed $1 million winning ticket in the state. That ticket was sold in Wheeling in February.

n Mountaineer Casino lobbyist Nelson Robinson told commissioners a proposed smoking ban in Hancock County could reduce the casino’s revenues by 20 percent and force the layoffs of 100 employees.

He said Jefferson County is also considering a smoking ban that would affect the Hollywood Casino in Charles Town, by far the largest of the state’s racetrack casinos.

Smoking was prohibited at the Mardi Gras casino in Nitro in 2008. The casino saw an initial small decrease in revenues, but has since gone on to move ahead of Wheeling Island casino in overall revenue.

Smoking is also prohibited by law in casinos in Ohio, Mountaineer’s prime competitors.

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


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