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Mountaineer sale receives state blessing

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Lottery Commission on Wednesday approved the acquisition of Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort in Hancock County by Century Casinos through a 100 percent stock purchase. Mountaineer is one of three casinos acquired in June by Century for Eldorado Resorts Inc.

“On behalf of Century Casinos, I’d like to thank you for approving us today,” said Erwin Haitzmann, chief executive officer and chairman of the board for Century Casinos. “Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort will make a wonderful addition to our portfolio of small and mid-size casinos.”

In another matter at its monthly meeting here, the commission reported August sports betting numbers are trending upward thanks to the start of college and professional football and the launch of mobile sports betting apps at two of the state’s five casinos.

According to monthly statements submitted by the West Virginia Lottery, Lottery revenues for August from sports wagering came in at $153,000. The revenue from wagering in July was about $70,000.

“We saw the initial bump that we expected in sports wagering at the time football season started up,” said Lottery Director John Myers. “And we brought the mobile app on about the very same time.”

The Legislature passed Senate Bill 415 in 2018, approving sports wagering at the state’s casinos and by mobile apps. Licensees pay a 10 percent privilege tax on the adjusted gross wagering receipts.

As of Aug. 31, the adjusted gross wagering receipts were more than $1.5 million with year-to-date gross receipts coming in at more than $2.2 million.

Myers said the sports betting numbers have not come in as high as he expected, but as the football season continues, he believes more people will give sports betting a try.

“We do expect it to grow as more people are educated on how to get on and do the signup,” Myers said. “The FanDuels and DraftKings of the world are doing a lot of advertising and things to do that education.”

William Clayton, vice chairman of the commission, echoed Myers’ sentiments during a presentation of the sports wagering revenue numbers.

“(Sports wagering) didn’t get big until football season kicked in,” Clayton said. “And again, we’ve only had that app up for three (weeks) of that four.”

The Greenbrier Resort Casino in Greenbrier County and Hollywood Casino in Jefferson County have on-site sports betting. FanDuel partnered with the Greenbrier on a mobile sports betting app while Hollywood partnered with DraftKings.

Mardi Gras Casino in Kanawha County and Wheeling Island Casino previously had on-site sports wagering, as well as the BetLucky sports betting app. Delaware North, the parent company of both casinos, shut down all sports betting and took its sports betting provider — Miomni — to court.

Delaware North alleges Miomni breached its contract with the casino owner when the company did not disclose a relationship with Enter-Gaming, a subcontractor for Miomni’s BetLucky app. Miomni’s contract dispute with Enter-Gaming caused a halt to on-site and online sports betting at the two casinos. The lawsuit is ongoing.

Myers was asked whether he had any recent conversations with Delaware North on how close the company was to selecting a new vendor for sports wagering.

“No, other than for them to tell me that they are continuing to work on it and they’re hoping that it won’t be as long as it has been,” Myers said. “They don’t have a finite date or company that they’ve shared with me. We’ll have to do the licensing, the vetting of all their people, and controlling interests and those sorts of things.”

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