Responding to residents who were locked out of buying lottery tickets in-person during the pandemic, West Virginia State Lottery Director John Myers said the state would be launching an iLottery platform by spring of 2023.
Myers told MetroNews that new state laws allow the West Virginia State Lottery to set up an online system for purchasing lottery tickets.
“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.”
Getting set for an iLottery ticket
As of early 2022, eight states offer an online lottery in the US: California, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Tennessee.
Meyers said customers will be allowed to make up to a $200 purchase of all the different games the West Virginia lottery offers.
“The complaint was, hey, I can make a sports wager or I can play casino games on my telephone, but I have to go down to stand in line at the local retailer to buy my lottery tickets. The customers have become accustomed to being able to use their phones for about everything. And that will allow the purchase of a Powerball or Mega Millions ticket from the kitchen table going forward.”
The West Virginia State Lottery is looking for requests for proposals (RFPs) from companies to provide bids to establish the service. Myer believes the Lottery will build the system and the platform.
A sign for the times
A new law approved by the West Virginia state legislature also cleared the way for limited video lottery (LVL) locations to advertise their in-place offerings. In other words, letting customers know that there are gaming machines inside the establishment.
Signs can only be six square feet. SB 312, which has its roots in House Bill 2507, allows for LVL businesses to also advertise on social media but prohibits them from promoting their machines.
Myers told WV public broadcasting the idea is to reduce confusion.
“They went into one of these locations thinking it was a restaurant, it was not identified as a limited video lottery and then they get inside and find out that there are gambling machines inside the business. So it’ll help identify what that business is.”
What is a Limited Video Lottery?
Limited Video Lottery machines in West Virginia were legalized in 2001. There is a pre-set number of games – when it started it was 9,000 – that are distributed at various locations throughout the state. The games can be housed in an adult environment, meaning places that serve alcohol.
There are five land-based casinos in West Virginia:
- The Hollywood Casino
- The Mardi Gras Casino
- The Mountaineer
- The Greenbrier
- Wheeling Island
The state passed the Interactive Gaming Act in 2019 to allow online casino gaming in West Virginia.