A $160,000 contract to review the potential financial influence of legalizing sports activities betting in West Virginia has been awarded to a California-based gaming analysis agency, state Lottery Fee Director Alan Larrick stated Thursday.
Underneath the contract, the agency of Eilers and Krejcik Gaming of Santa Ana, California, is to “evaluate alternatives and potential financial impression of implementing sports activities betting and different types of web gaming in West Virginia.”
“It’s actually an informational-type state of affairs for us to be as knowledgeable as potential,” Larrick stated. “Relying on what occurs, if we’re given the facility to go ahead with sports activities gaming, we need to be able to go ahead with as a lot information and knowledge as we will probably get.”
In June, the U.S. Supreme Courtroom agreed to listen to two instances this fall time period from New Jersey difficult present federal regulation that bans sports activities betting in a lot of the nation. If the excessive courtroom overturns the regulation, all states can be free to legalize sports activities betting, a probably very profitable market, with an estimated $2.5 billion to $three billion a yr wagered illegally on sporting occasions.
Larrick stated that, in that state of affairs, if the state Legislature provides the OK, the Lottery needs to have the ability to transfer shortly in hopes of providing sports activities playing forward of neighboring states, because it did with its racetrack casinos.
“Traditionally, that was an excellent factor for West Virginia financially once we received forward of our neighbors,” he stated of the state having a multi-year head-start in providing video slots and desk video games earlier than Pennsylvania, Ohio and Maryland legalized on line casino playing.
“If we’re given that chance, we wish to have the ability to step ahead as shortly as we will, for apparent causes revenue-wise,” Larrick stated.
Along with analyzing the financial influence and potential finances results of legalizing sports activities gaming in West Virginia, the agency is to conduct a demographic research of gamers who’re illegally wagering on sports activities, and develop a technique to “seize” these gamers for state-sanctioned gaming.
In the course of the 2017 common session, a invoice was launched within the Home of Delegates to legalize sports activities betting on the state’s 5 casinos, however was by no means taken up.
Shortly after the Supreme Courtroom’s announcement it might hear the instances, lead sponsor Delegate Shawn Fluharty, D-Ohio, commented, “If we’re capable of get in entrance of this, we’d have the ability to get out forward of the opposite states for a couple of years. The state desperately must generate new income.
Additionally mentioned throughout Thursday’s Lottery Fee assembly:
n Large jackpots for Powerball — $758 million and Mega Hundreds of thousands — $382 million helped increase state Lottery gross sales in August.
On-line ticket gross sales of $11.76 million have been up 212 % over the $5.54 million of gross sales in August 2016, serving to push Lottery gross income for the month to $95.29 million, up $5.94 million over August 2016 collections.
Restricted video lottery income was additionally up in August, at $28.9 million, up 6.four % from August 2016, following the July 1 enactment of a regulation permitting bars and golf equipment to have as much as seven LVL machines, up from a most of 5 beneath earlier regulation.
As of Aug. 31, a complete of 253 video lottery places have added machines past the earlier most of 5 per location.
These will increase offset a unbroken downturn in income on the state’s 4 racetrack casinos, which noticed a $2.34 million lower in video lottery and desk video games income in August in comparison with August 2016.
The state’s share of Lottery income for August totaled $42.47 million, up $2.76 million from August 2016. For the primary two months of the 2017-18 finances yr, the state’s revenue of $83.71 million is down $690,000 from the identical level in 2016.
n Commissioners permitted license renewals for 35 restricted video lottery operators — corporations that present LVL machines to bars and golf equipment — with three of the renewals conditional on the businesses supplying further monetary disclosures inside 90 days. These corporations are Derrick Video, Mountaineer Music, and Viking Video and Music.
Whereas LVL regulation permits operators to have as much as 675 LVL licenses, the most important operator, Southern Amusement, is presently licensed for 525 machines, and is one in every of solely two corporations with greater than 500 machines, commissioners have been suggested.