Video Lottery Machine Distributors Face Costly Upgrade

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Video lottery distributors are facing costly upgrades due to a looming change in the way their machines communicate with the West Virginia Lottery's central computer.

Lottery Director John Musgrave says the computer protocol used by most of the more 7,000 limited video lottery machines in the state is obsolete.

The machines' manufacturer, IGT, plans to stop using the protocol. Distributors have until Dec. 31, 2017 to either upgrade or replace their machines.

Upgrades would cost about $3,000 per machine. A new machine cost $20,000 to $30,000.

Musgrave told distributors about the change Tuesday during a Lottery Commission informational meeting in Charleston.

George Carenbauer with the West Virginia Amusement and Limited Video Lottery Association said the news hit distributors "like a ton of bricks."