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West Virginia Lotteries

In November 1984, voters passed an amendment to the state constitution that legalized a state lottery. In April 1985, the State Lottery Act was passed, authorizing the Lottery, which began operations in 1986. The first instant scratch tickets were sold in January 1986. Today the Lottery offers instant games, keno, and in-state and multi-state draw games. Lottery activities also include the regulation of video lottery terminals (VLTs) and table game operations. The Lottery is regulated by the West Virginia Lottery Commission, which was established in 1985 to support the Lottery in matters of policy. Commission members are governor-appointed for a five-year term and may serve successive terms. By law, the Commission must include seven members: a lawyer, a certified public accountant, a computer expert, a marketing specialist, one member with at least five years' law enforcement experience and two members representing the public. No more than four members may be affiliated with the same political party.

The State Lottery Act mandates that players must receive at least 45% of ticket sales in prizes, which have historically averaged around 50%. The maximum allowed percentage for Lottery operating costs of traditional games is 15%. Retailers receive a 7% commission, as well as ticket cashing and selling bonuses. The remaining proceeds were originally transferred to the state's general fund to benefit seniors, state parks, and education. However, in 1989, lawmakers legislated that lottery proceeds be directed to programs benefiting public elementary, secondary and higher education, including scholarships; matching funds for Medicaid, in-home health care costs, and senior support services; and funding to support tourism advertising grants.

In 1988, West Virginia became a charter member of the Multi State Lottery Association's (MUSL) Lotto America game, the forerunner of Powerball.

In 1994, West Virginia passed the Racetrack Video Lottery Act, which allowed VLTs at licensed horse and dog racetracks in the state, subject to local voter referendum. Travel Keno was also legalized at locations licensed to sell alcohol. Since 1999, legislative action has allowed mechanical reel coin drop machines.

In April 2001, the legislature passed HB102, the Limited Video Lottery Act, which banned private VLTs, known as gray machines, operated in bars and convenience stores. Legislation provided for up to 9,000 limited VLTs to be placed in restricted-access, adult-only retailer locations with specific state Alcohol Beverage Control Administration licenses.

By 2005, VLTs represented more than 70% of the Lottery's total sales revenue.

In 2006, Scientific Games, Inc. (SGI) was awarded a new six-year contract with four optional one-year renewals to provide hardware, software, and maintenance of its Aegis central computer system for Lottery VLTs located at the state's racetracks and limited VLT locations. In 2013, the SGI contract was extended until 2018. The Lottery had previously contracted with IGT and its SAMS central computer system.

In 2016, IGT Global Solutions Corporation signed a seven-year contract with the Virginia Lottery. Under the terms, the lottery will receive parts of IGT's Aurora platform, a retail solution software architecture.

Although regulated by the West Virginia Lottery, Casino City considers VLTs to be a casino and card room gaming activity.

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