State lottery revenue beat estimates by more than $48 million over the last quarter, but lottery officials say new out-of-state competition is beginning to take its toll.
Lottery finance director Jim Toney told members of the West Virginia Lottery Commission on Tuesday that September's $111.2 million in revenue was $17.2 million greater than forecasts for the month.
The surplus was driven by higher-than-expected video gambling revenue from the state's four racetrack casinos. The casinos brought in $56.8 million for the month, about 30 percent more than the $43.7 million lottery officials had expected.
The September surplus, combined with
prior months' positive results, helped
push quarterly revenue about 16 percent above expectations during July through September.
The overall $343.5 million in revenue for the quarter was about $48.1 million more than forecast.
Toney said the positive results were part of a trend the Lottery Commission has seen all year.
Finance officials had expected large drops in casino gambling - primarily at the Mountaineer and Wheeling Island casinos in the Northern Panhandle - due to the planned openings of new casinos in Ohio.
Those casinos were expected to open at the beginning of this year but were delayed. The lack of competition helped boost lottery revenues, and Toney said that trend continued over the last quarter.
"We're blessed at the lottery because our financial results for the month of September and for the quarter that ended in September continued to see the same positive revenue trends," Toney said.
However, he said that's not likely to continue.
New casinos opened in Cleveland and Toledo in May, although lottery officials said they wouldn't be the biggest competition for the Northern Panhandle casinos.