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CHARLESTON — State Lottery revenue dropped in December, hurt by plunging business at West Virginia’s four racetrack casinos, presumably as a spike in COVID-19 cases dampened patronage.

For the month, the Lottery had gross revenue of $87.5 million, down about $3 million from November, and down $6.63 million from December 2019, according to figures provided by the Lottery Commission.

Racetrack video lottery revenue at the four casinos fell to $28.46 million for the month, down 28% from November, and down 29% from December 2019, when racetrack slots took in $40.27 million.

Table games revenue at the four casinos dropped to $2.08 million in December, down 28% from November, and down 34% from December 2019.

December Limited Video Lottery revenue of $34.4 million was up about $1.7 million from November and from December 2019 revenue.

However, that amount is well off from five record-setting months for LVL play at bars, clubs and fraternal organizations around the state from June through September of 2020. That included an all-time record revenue month of $40.88 million in June and second all-time highest month of $39.82 million in July.

Sales of traditional scratch-off and online tickets were strong in December, a month of gift-giving and one featuring large Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots, bringing in a total of $20.9 million, up $6.6 million from November, and up $4 million from December 2019.

Year-to-date gross Lottery revenues of $538.62 million are down $18.85 million from December 2019, but on pace to break $1 billion before the budget year ends June 30.

Last year, the Lottery failed to top the $1 billion mark for the first time in 18 years, as a 10-week closure of casinos and LVL locations dropped gross revenue for the 2019-20 budget year to $955.7 million.

The state’s share of Lottery profits for December was $38.37 million, down about $2.5 million from November, and down $2.97 million from December 2019.

Year-to-date, state Lottery profits total $237.73 million, down $11.36 million from the same point in 2019.

Also during Wednesday’s Lottery Commission meeting:

  • Lottery Director John Myers said the first round of bidding for 2021-31 LVL machine permits brought in $53.85 million for a total of 7,110 permits.

Myers said two major LVL machine distributors did not bid in the first round, saying that makes him confident overall bidding will match the more than 8,000 10-year permits issued in 2011.

  • Commissioners approved an i-gaming license for Draft Kings.

Draft Kings currently is licensed to operate a sports betting mobile app affiliated with Hollywood Casino in Charles Town. The i-gaming license will allow the company to operate a mobile app featuring wagering on casino-style games.

Reach Phil Kabler at philk@hdmediallc.com, 304 348-1220 or follow @PhilKabler on Twitter.

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