West Virginia Lottery Director discusses sports betting revenue, lawsuit

Photo by Steven Allen Adams West Virginia Lottery Commission Chairman Kenneth Greear, left, and Lottery Director John Myers talk at the end of the Lottery Commission meeting.

CHARLESTON — March Madness was good for West Virginia’s new sports betting locations, but a lawsuit affecting wagering at casinos in Ohio and Kanawha counties kept it from being better.

The West Virginia Lottery Commission met Wednesday for its monthly meeting in Charleston. Commissioners approved two new sports wagering management service providers and approved another management service provider on a probationary basis.

According to financial statements approved by the commission, sports betting brought in $1.99 million in adjusted gross receipts in March. Year-to-date, sports betting brought in $10.1 million.

The state receives a 10 percent privilege tax from the gross receipts from sports betting. Tax revenue from sports betting for March came in at $199,000 and $1.01 million year-to-date.

The lottery receives 15 percent of the tax revenue for administrative costs, while the remainder is deposited in the State Lottery Fund. When the fund reaches $15 million, any additional net profit will be deposited into the Public Employees insurance Agency Financial Stability Fund.

All West Virginia’s five casinos offer sports betting: Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort in New Cumberland, Wheeling Island Hotel Casino and Racetrack, Mardi Gras Casino and Resort near Charleston, the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, and Hollywood Casino in Charles Town.

Hollywood Casino brought in $1.48 million in revenue from sports betting in March, followed by Mountaineer Casino with $260,371 and the Greenbrier with $108,883. All revenue generated has been from the casino locations, as none have mobile sports betting yet.

Lottery Director John Myers said that could soon be changing.

The commission approved companies William Hill and FanDuel as sports wagering management services providers. The commission also approved DraftKings, but placed it on a financial watch list due to the condition of their financial statements.

Myers said these contracts bring mobile sports betting closer for Mountaineer, Hollywood, and the Greenbrier.

“They’re closer today,” Myers said. “We’ve been working on the platform and how it’s set up, where the servers are located, and making sure they’re combined with our systems. We’ve made a lot of progress in the last two weeks, so hopefully it won’t be as long as it has.

The story isn’t as rosy for Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras casinos, both owned by Delaware North. Sports betting has been paused at both casinos since March 6 due to a dispute between Delaware North and Miomni Gaming.

Delaware North filed a lawsuit last week against Miomni, accusing the creator of the BetLucky app of not notifying Delaware about issues over rights to the name “BetLucky” and other intellectual property.

Delaware North is working to separate itself from Miomni, Myers said.

“I think one of the concerns is whether they have to completely separate from Miomni before they can begin a new relationship,” Myers said. “That’s to be determined, but their legal staff have to make that determination. It’s certainly something we have to consider.”

For the brief period in March that Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island were participating in sports betting, Mardi Gras brought in $63,002 of taxable revenue. Wheeling Island actually lost $5,265 on the retail side and made $53,509 from the mobile app, bringing in $48,243 in taxable revenue.

“Of course, it’s impactful,” Myers said. “Part of what we were hoping to see was the impact that the mobile app would have. It’s kind of been taken out of the equation since we’re not able to see that, though the expectation was it would have an impact.”

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