An editorial opinion from the The Inter-Mountain of Elkins, W.Va.:
While revenue from some forms of legalized gambling in West Virginia has plummeted during the past several years, the take from “limited video lottery” machines has remained remarkably stable.
LVL devices are the electronic versions of slot machines that can be found in private clubs, bars, convenience stores and similar outlets throughout the state. In fiscal 2007, LVL raked in $397 million in revenue.
Ten years later, during the fiscal year that ended last June 30, LVL brought in $360 million.
Some LVL operators said they could make more for the state and, not incidentally, themselves if the state would allow them to have more gambling machines.
Well, why not? Limits on the number of LVL machines, five in most locations, may have made sense at some time. They do not now.
Efforts were made last year to allow LVL operators to have more gambling machines. But, amid the crush of other business, legislators did not approve the change.
Reportedly, a bill allowing at least some operators to have seven machines per location will be introduced when legislators go into session. It should be approved.
It is unlikely they would bring in much additional income for the state – but given West Virginia’s fiscal woes, every little bit helps.