27 July 2009

Jefferson Weighs Re-Vote on Table Games

The Associated Press reports that "two years to reconsider, a faltering economy and a new deal that would give host communities a bigger slice of the financial pie are creating momentum for a second vote on whether to let Charles Town Races & Slots put poker, roulette and other table games alongside more than 5,000 slot machines."

Of the state's four counties that host racetracks, Jefferson County was alone in 2007 in rejecting the addition of the casino games, "by a 12-point margin, 56 percent to 44 percent," writes AP's Vicki Smith.

But since then, "unemployment has more than doubled," and "there is a growing threat that nearby Maryland's venture into slots will lure away thousands who have come to the Eastern Panhandle to gamble," the article said.

The Legislature also added an incentive during a recent special session, with a measure that "would double the percentage of revenue distributed to counties and cities that host the state's four racetrack casinos," if Jefferson approves table games, Smith writes.

Smith also reports that "passage is no sure bet. Support appears to be lukewarm in one potentially powerful voting block, the Charles Town Horsemen's Benevolent & Protective Association."

The move comes amid final figures from the 2009 budget year, which ended June 30 and saw revenues drop at Charles Town and two of the state's other tracks.

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