23 July 2009

W.Va. Lottery Does Better Than Expected

As reported after West Virginia ended its 2009 budget year June 30, state lottery revenues appeared on track to beat a forecast that predicted a dip in sales from the previous year.

The Lottery Commission fielded the final numbers Wednesday, and learned that sales topped the projection by a slight $20 million, to total $1.49 billion, The Associated Press and others report.

"State government's share of the resulting revenues topped $616.6 million, while West Virginia's counties and municipalities together reaped nearly $16 million," the article said. "But an overall decline in lottery sales that began in mid-2007 continued. And despite the better-than-forecast showing, that trend is expected to persist with sales dipping by an estimated $104 million during the fiscal year that began July 1."

AP also offers a rundown of the state's four racetracks, which provide the bulk of lottery revenues, while noting both the growing competition from Pennsylvania and the approaching threat from Ohio.

Most of those who gamble at West Virginia's four tracks travel from other states, including those two neighbors. The Charleston Daily Mail earlier questioned whether casino-style table games and resort-level amenities would give the tracks much of an edge with Ohio gamblers once their home state opens slot halls.

Also reporting on the FY09 figures include The Charleston Gazette and MetroNews. The latter offers audio from Lottery Director John Musgrave.

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