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Table Games May Come to West Virginia

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

WHEELING , West Virginia – as reported by the Associated Press: “If the third time's the charm, 2006 could be the year West Virginia lawmakers open the doors to poker, blackjack and other table games at four racetrack casinos. The president of Wheeling Island Racetrack and Gaming Center isn't betting on it just yet, but he will wager this: If they don't let the four host counties vote soon, jobs will start to disappear. 

“Robert D. Marshall Jr. says the state will lose at least $30 million from its tax base when Pennsylvania 's 61,000 slot machines come online unless West Virginia 's gambling halls can offer something more enticing. Table games, now available in 11 other states, could raise revenue by at least $15 million a year, he says.

“Without table games, 250 jobs on Wheeling Island could be lost. With them, Marshall says, 350 could be gained.

 “‘People in general think this is a new gambling bill. It's not. We're just adding amenities,’ he says, standing at the edge of a tropical-themed casino with 2,330 jingling machines and a bar lined with fake palm trees. ‘We're just asking for more product.’

“A bill that would let Kanawha, Jefferson , Hancock and Ohio counties vote on table games died at the end of the last legislative session, and Gov. Joe Manchin refused to put it on a special session agenda for September.


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