CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A new state law relaxes some of the advertising restrictions that have been on Limited Video Lottery locations across the state since the machines were legalized in 2001.
The new measures, part of SB 312, a rules bill passed by lawmakers, will allow those who operate the machines in the 1,250 LVL locations to say what they are, state Lottery Director John Myers said.
“We are going to allow them to have a six square-foot sign indicating what it is,” Myers told MetroNews.
West Virginia Amusement and Video Lottery Association Executive Director Michael Haid said the LVL locations have never been able to mention the words ‘Limited Video Lottery’ on anything, now that will change.
Haid said other forms of lottery have been given a lot of latitude when advertising including traditional games, Powerball, MegaMillions and sports betting.
“It’s been a distinction without a difference,” Haid said.
Haid said the signs will be done tastefully, no flashing lights will be used. He said the signs will be informative to the general public.
“They will keep people out who don’t want to come in and it helps people who are looking for it find them,” Haid said.
Myers agreed the signs should be informative.
“People go into one of these and just by the name think they are going into a restaurant and when they get in they find out it’s a video lottery parlor,” Myers said.
The signs can be six square-feet so it can be 1 by 6 or 2 by 3.
The new rules, which take effect July 1, will also allow the LVL locations to advertise on social media but they can’t say anything about their machines. The new rules do allow the words video lottery when advertising for employees.
Haid said the LVL owners have policed themselves since the machines were legalized more than 20 years ago.
“What we don’t want to do in LVL is to create a public nuisance by having these messages everywhere from all these different locations, but some basic signage and some social media, frankly, would help our businesses substantially because there’s still a lot of unknowns about what we do,” Haid said.
It’s been another good year for LVL revenue. The nearly 9,000 machines brought in $39.9 million in February which is about $10 million above projection. LVLs have produced $320 million in the first eight months of the fiscal year.
iLottery on the way
New lottery rules approved by state lawmakers also open the door for iLottery which will allow credit cards and iPhones to be used in purchasing traditional lottery tickets.
Myers said complaints started to come in during the pandemic.
“People said, ‘I can go online and play games, I can sports bet but I have to go down and stand in line at the Go Mart to buy my lottery ticket,'” Myers said. “So this was kind of the response to that. It gives us the ability to sell Powerball, MegaMillions tickets, scratch-off tickets on the phone.”
Using credit cards will be part of the iLottery process, Myers said.
“In iLottery when you use your telephone to buy a ticket you have to have an account and that’s how you set up that account (by using a credit card) and it will also somebody to go into a retail location and use a credit card up to $200.”
Myers said he doesn’t expect the iLottery to be available until next spring. The Lottery is currently seeking RFPs from companies who will submit bids to provide the service. Myers said the Lottery will have to build the system and platform for the new option.