Published: February 14, 2024

West Virginia Lottery and casinos generate more than $1 billion annually to support many programs locals rely on

Adding together table games, racetrack betting, sports wagers, video lottery games and the rest of the industry, more than $1.3 billion was spent playing the lottery in West Virginia last year.

The West Virginia Lottery in its entirety contributes more than $500 million to the state each year, with another $700 million paid out in prizes and commissions to retailers.

The funds collected by the state support education, senior and veteran services, the infrastructure council, tourism and the state’s general fund.

Casinos and video lottery retailers employ thousands of people across West Virginia. They also provide entertainment to locals and bring tourism into their communities, said L&E Group lobbyist Ryan Lemmon.

The Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras casinos, which are owned and operated by Delaware North’s gaming division, employ 480 and 440 people in their local communities, respectively, said Delaware North Director of Corporate Communications Glen White.

Although many of the jobs are locally held, much of the capital collected in casinos comes from out of state.

"The vast majority of players you find at our racetrack casinos come from other states,” said Deputy Director of the West Virginia Lottery Randy Burnside.

This is because all casinos in West Virginia are located near the borders of other more populous states, while West Virginia has a low population with a small pool of eligible gamblers, Burnside said.

"Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack continues to be a popular gaming and entertainment destination for patrons in the Greater Wheeling region, including guests traveling from Northwest West Virginia, Eastern Ohio and greater Pittsburgh and staying for weekends and other visits,” White said.

Mardi Gras Casino in Cross Lanes is the one exception to this rule, with 38-39% of its play coming from West Virginia residents, Burnside said.

The other casinos, including the one at The Greenbrier, see only about 10% of their play coming from locals, Burnside said.

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