West Virginia Lottery exceeds revenue goals for fiscal year despite pandemic hit for casinos

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Lottery exceeded its sales goal for the fiscal year 2020-2021 despite casinos taking a hit due to COVID-19.

During Tuesday’s monthly lottery commission meeting, state Lottery Director John Myers reported that the lottery finished with a total revenue of just under $1.2 billion from July of last year to June 30.

“Each year we set a goal to exceed one billion dollars in total sales for the lottery. This year we ended up at $1.17 billion,” Myers told MetroNews.

Myers said the lottery projected a total of $983 million for the year. He also said on the net revenue side, the lottery fund finished $17 million above projections and the excess funds were $52 million over projections for the fiscal year.

Commission members called the lottery revenue numbers “impressive” and “heck of an accomplishment.” Myers agreed because of the past year happening during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We still met the goal with the pandemic in place. It created a lot of challenges from the standpoint of the casinos were running, not necessarily shutdown over the last year, but with restrictions that kept them from having a full amount of people on the floor,” he said.

Myers credited the strong numbers back to record sales for traditional lottery games such as Powerball, Mega Millions and scratch-off tickets totaling over $249 million. He said scratch-off tickets sales were higher in the past year than any on record. Myers also said limited video lottery saw an increase in revenue from past years, totaling $480 million in revenue.

“I think because people couldn’t go to the casinos, they were going to the smaller venues in order to play the machines and therefore we saw an increase in revenue in the LVL side,” Myers said.

MetroNews previously reported details of just how much of a COVID hit the casinos took in 2020 in its re-licensing discussion during the June meeting.

Mountaineer Casino in Chester lost $9.2 million in 2020. Mardi Gras Casino and Resort in Nitro reported a loss in revenue of $2.9 million. Casinos in Wheeling in Charles Town reported modest profits. Hollywood Casino at Charles Town had reported a profit of $11.1 million. It was $38 million the year before. Wheeling Island had a $1.5 million profit in 2020. The profit was nearly $7 million in 2019.

Myers told MetroNews on Tuesday that it’s no shocker those numbers are where they are.

“Their revenues were reduced from previous years simply because they could not have full occupancy inside the casino,” he said.

For the month of June, total revenues include $105.5 million. Traditional sales equaled $20.7 million in revenue, racetrack video lottery $40 million, limited video lottery $40.5 million, table games $2.7 million, historic resort $597,000, sports wagering $344,000, and interactive wagering $673,000.