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VIDEO LOTTERY LAW CHANGES PUSHED BACK STATE OFFICIAL SAYS FOLLOWING PUBLIC HEARING, CHANGES WILL BE DELAYED UNTIL AFTER JAN. 1, 2012


Publication: CHARLESTON DAILY MAIL
Published: Thursday, November 17, 2011
Page: 11
Byline: JARED HUNT DAILY MAIL CAPITOL REPORTER

Changes to how distributors and retailers of limited video lottery machines do business have been pushed back to after the first of the year.
State Lottery Director John Musgrave told members of the state Lottery Commission Wednesday that following a public hearing with retailers and operators in Charleston Tuesday, officials have decided to delay policy changes.
Earlier this year, lottery officials proposed new rules regulating how limited video lottery machine distributors and operators split revenue with retail locations.
Under the current system, operators and retailers usually split revenues using cash at each retail location. The new policy would require operators to take all cash from retail sites and reimburse retailers at a later date.
The policy change is meant to bring video lottery operations in line with state laws governing lottery transactions.
However, some operators and retailers complained about the new policy, saying the current system provides more safety for operators collecting money from retail sites.
By splitting the cash on site, collectors carry less money as they leave locations. By not splitting those winnings there, operators have said collectors could be targeted for theft because people will know they are carrying larger amounts cash.
Several people spoke out at Tuesday’s public meeting, Musgrave said. Another dozen or so submitted written comments.
Staff members will consider those comments to retool the policy. Any revised policy proposal would also face a public review period, Musgrave said.
“They hope this would be ready after the first of January,” he said Wednesday. “The commission would then look at that and make it available for comments at that time.”
Wednesday’s meeting was the first in the lottery’s new offices at the City Center West building on Pennsylvania Avenue.
While several floors are still under heavy construction, the Lottery’s main operations are now based in the new building.
“We’ve moved all operations here, all our staff is here,” he said. “We’re redeeming tickets, too.
“We hope to get everything in order here in the next couple of weeks,” he said.
An open house is being planned for members of the public.
Also at Wednesday’s meeting, Lottery finance director Jim Toney reported that October revenues were at $117.2 million, about 6.2 percent above forecasts.
Toney said all types of lottery revenue sources were running above forecasts for the month.
Fiscal year-to-date revenues totaled $473 million through October, again beating expectations.
“All categories of our sales are either level with forecasts or above,” Toney said. “We feel very fortunate.”
Contact writer Jared Hunt at jared.hunt@dailymail.com or 304-348-5148.


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