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Lottery revenues rebound slightly in July

By Phil Kabler, Staff writer
LAWRENCE PIERCE | Gazette file photo

After hitting the dubious milestone -- less than $100 million in monthly revenue in June for the first time since 2003 -- monthly state Lottery revenues rebounded slightly in July, with total revenue of $101 million.

That was up 6 percent from June, buoyed by a particularly strong month for the casino at The Greenbrier resort, which saw table game revenues jump 148 percent, to $457,715, and video lottery play increase 32 percent to $429,575. That coincides with the Greenbrier Classic PGA golf tournament, which was held July 3-6.

However, even with the upswing at The Greenbrier, July revenues were down $4.28 million, or about 4 percent, from July 2013.

Video lottery at the state’s four racetrack casinos fell $2.58 million to $51.1 million, a decline of nearly 5 percent. Racetrack table game revenues dropped by $639,000 to $4.08 million for the month, compared to July 2013.

“We are still seeing a downturn. We are still experiencing competition as there are new casinos coming in Maryland, and some in Ohio,” Lottery Director John Musgrave said.

Musgrave said he also believes the state economy has not fully recovered from the economic downturn, and that continues to hurt Lottery revenues.

He said the Lottery is studying ways to offset the financial downturn, including possibly seeking legislation to legalize e-gaming, which would allow state casinos to operate on-line gaming.

“We feel that’s the way the industry is moving,” he said.

Musgrave said the Lottery is also studying the possibly of offering a smart phone application that would allow users to purchase Powerball and Mega Millions tickets over their phones.

He noted that the advent of technology that allows drivers to pay for gas purchases using credit or debit cards at the pump has hurt sales of traditional Lottery games.

Musgrave said the Lottery Commission would not need legislation to approve a smart phone app.

Meanwhile, limited video lottery, offered at bars, clubs and fraternal organizations statewide, produced $30.12 million of revenue in July, down 2.5 percent from July 2013.

Traditional online and scratch-off games produced $14.88 million in sales for the month, down more than 4 percent from July 2013.

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


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