- Racetrack casinos in West Virginia see increase in gaming revenues for December
- First increase in earnings by almost seven years
- Introduction of sports betting has seemingly increased foot traffic to help gaming revenue numbers
- Improved economy also a factor
For close to seven years now, the racetrack casinos of West Virginia failed to see an increase in gaming revenues. The gaming facilities of the state operate table games and a video lottery. However, this past December, the state saw a solid increase in earnings. The uptick of revenues is reportedly due to sports betting along with an improved economy.
Increase in traffic
West Virginia was one of the first states in the US to approve and launch sports betting after changes were made in May 2018. As the summer began, the United States Supreme Court struck down legislation involving a sports betting ban. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was no more.
Following the change, states such as West Virginia could legalize sports betting. The state now seems to be benefiting from the new industry as more players are visiting the gaming locations.
In December, the video lottery gaming industry of the state earned $43.42m (€38m). This was an increase of 10% from November. In comparison with December 2017, the numbers were up 8%.
For table games, the sector was up 13%. A total of $3.25m (€2.8m) was earned in December. This was an increase of 13% when compared with November and 13% when compared with the previous December.
Lottery director John Myers said: “Sports betting has to help, of course, with more people coming in the doors and spending time. With a good economy, you have more spending. You have more dollars to put toward entertainment.”
Sports betting industry
In West Virginia, the Mountaineer Casino began offering sports betting in late November. Wheeling Island and the Mardi Gras venue began in late December.
The state is set to receive a privilege tax on the new industry of 10%. For December, this number reached just over $234,000 (€204,916). This was a 76% increase from November.
When breaking down the individual sports betting numbers, the Hollywood Casino came in first. The venue is located in Charles Town. The total wagers minus payouts came in at $1.6m (€1.4m). Mountaineer came in second with $444,303 (€389,083) in earnings. The Greenbrier was next up with $151,477 (€132,650).
Rounding out the sports betting figures for December were Wheeling Island and Mardi Gras. Wheeling finished the month just under $100,000 (€87,567). Mardi Gras earned quite a bit less at $45,273 (€39,644) . Both of these venues were the first to launch mobile sports betting. With their sports betting applications, the two had an additional option for earnings.
Wheeling Island earned the most via mobile at $21,161 (€18,530). Mardi Gras earned only $1,341 (€1,174). The apps were in operation for a short time, so it is unclear how popular mobile wagering will be. Officials of the lottery are currently working with other casinos for a mobile launch. Additional operators want to provide mobile gaming as well.