CHARLESTON, WV -- The West Virginia Amusement and Limited Lottery Association and location owners have sued the West Virginia Lottery Commission, asserting that the planned bidding process to renew licenses for video lottery terminals will unduly harm existing operators and locations.
Under new rules adopted this year by the lottery commission, bidding began Aug. 2 for some 5,000 VLT licenses out of the 8,100 licenses that are due to expire June 30, 2011. The rest of the licenses will be put up for bid in smaller lots in December and March.
The operators' suit, filed Aug. 17 in Kanawha County Circuit Court, seeks to have all licenses put up for bid simultaneously and delay the opening of the process.
Under previous rules, existing VLT operators received a preference on bids as a way of protecting their investment in equipment, staff, parts and supplies and legal fees, among other costs, for the licenses' 10-year period. Specifically, VLT operators were allowed to buy any unclaimed licenses at the same price as the highest bid made during the first round.
The new rules are designed to foster more competition and openness in the market. But operators believe breaking them up into three phases of bidding means there will be no "unclaimed" licenses, thus crowding them out of parts of the market and possibly forcing some locations to close.
W. Va. Operators, Locations Find Compromise On VLT Licensing