- West Virginia gamblers poured $1.05 billion into video lottery machines within the past year -- enough to fund nearly a third of the state budget.
- Nearly 1,970 restaurants, clubs and parlors statewide held licenses to host the so-called "limited" video lottery machines, which offer such games as slots, poker, blackjack and Keno;
- Each day, gamblers put an average of $2.87 million into the machines.
- As a result, 335 of these locations became million-dollar mini-casinos; more than a dozen grossed $3 million each.
- The four Northern Panhandle counties had 14 machines for every 1,000 residents last fiscal year, nearly triple the statewide average.
- Only one county in 55 -- Webster -- is machine-free.
Wow. I hope this series profiles the average "player." Are they West Virginians? Are they middle or upper class? My sense is that these machines are fed by lower to middle-class wage earners--people with little disposable income. Does that matter to anyone?