WV Lottery: Sales of our traditional lottery section have actually stayed pretty consistent

in Lottery

John Myers, director said Lottery officials are making preparations for when bars and casinos can reopen according to the governor’s comeback plans. The Department of Health and Human Resources and local health departments will be in charge of health regulations. Bars, casinos and clubs could get the green light to reopen from Gov. Jim Justice in the next three to six weeks.

Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack

CHARLESTON — March revenue numbers for the West Virginia Lottery saw a 37% drop from what they were last year due to bars, casinos and clubs being shut down to limit the spread of the coronavirus throughout the state.

Members of the West Virginia Lottery Commission met by conference call Wednesday for their monthly meeting. The commission has not met in person at its Charleston headquarters since the Feb. 26 meeting due to the spread of the coronavirus.

John Myers, director of the West Virginia Lottery, said a goal of breaking $1 billion in sales by the end of the fiscal year on June 30 is unlikely due to the shutdown of casinos, bars and other locations for video lottery.

“As much as I hate to say it, our streak of $1 billion in sales for the year is certainly in jeopardy,” Myers said. “I’m not very optimistic that we’ll make that this year.”

Lottery revenue for the month of March – which includes online and instant ticket sales, video lottery sales, table game, and the revenue from the Greenbrier Resort – was $59 million, $30.9 million below projections for the months and down from $95 million in February.

While video lottery and table games are shut down, people can still purchase traditional lottery tickets from retailers or through online games. Revenue from these line items were $16.2 million compared to $20.6 million in March 2019. For the month of March, instant ticket gross sales alone were $11.6 million, which was $4.1 million above projections for the month.

“The sales of our traditional lottery section have actually stayed pretty consistent with what they were before,” Myers said.

Revenue from racetrack video lottery, limited video lottery, table games, the Greenbrier casino and sports wagering came in at $42.8 million for March. This same time last year, that revenue was $89.4 million. Projections for the month were $77.4 million.

According to the West Virginia Lottery’s monthly financial report, March net revenues for the State Lottery Fund was $4.9 million, which was $2.8 million below projections. Year-to-date collections were $104.1 million, which was $4.9 million above projections. State Excess Lottery Fund net revenues of $16.8 million for March were $14.6 million below projections, but year-to-date collections of $212.6 million were $16.3 million above projections.

West Virginia Lottery staff are mostly working from home, though some continue to work in the Charleston headquarters in day and night shifts to maintain social distancing. In-person lottery ticket validations were shut down, with validations being done by mail twice a week.

Myers said that current revenues are enough to keep Lottery afloat and make payments on its outstanding bonds, including lottery revenue bonds for the Higher Education Policy Commission for capital improvement funds at community and technical colleges, and excess lottery revenue bonds for the School Building Authority and the Water Development Authority.

“Our licensing folks have done a tremendous job keeping up with things and keeping us running,” Myers said. “With what we’ve been charged in paying through the month of April, our revenues have been enough to cover that so far. We’re pretty good in that sense. Hopefully none of us will be out in the shutdown a whole lot longer. That could cause problems with our obligations.”

Myers said Lottery officials are making preparations for when bars and casinos can reopen according to the governor’s comeback plans. The Department of Health and Human Resources and local health departments will be in charge of health regulations. Bars, casinos and clubs could get the green light to reopen from Gov. Jim Justice in the next three to six weeks.

“We do have some things from the regulatory standpoint that will need to occur in order to start back up,” Myers said. “When the clubs and casinos reopen, that has to be in compliance with whatever guidance is issued out of the governor’s office and with state and local health officials. We see that as their role. They have ‘MD’ after their name, John Myers does not.”

https://www.theintelligencer.net/news/top-headlines/2020/04/w-va-lottery-finances-stable-but-outlook-is-grim/