W. Va. wants live table games, not electronic

Anonymous Dealer

The push for table games in West Virginia is partially about the jobs they would bring to the state. So even though special elections could give casinos electronic options, they plan to stick to the human-run tables.

Bob Marshall, general manager of Wheeling Island Racetrack and Gaming Center, told the Associated Press, "People want live games, and we're going to give them that."

Other racetrack and gaming executives have expressed similar sentiments on the issue.

Though the electronic tables like those from ShuffleMaster Inc. or PokerPro are good products, they can be limited, offering few game options and little social interaction.

According to Marshall, it's not just about dealing the cards, it's about the interaction with the customer as well.

Wheeling Island Racetrack and Gaming Center is located in Ohio County in West Virginia. The county will have a chance to vote to approve table games June 9.

If approved in Ohio County and the other counties with table games on the docket, thousands of jobs could be created.

Hancock County's Mountaineer Racetrack and Gaming Resort plans to hire 700 employees if the measure is approved.

Opponents of the table games believe that if creating jobs was truly the intent of the new table games measure, electronic options wouldn't have been added to it.

There are obvious cost savings to electronic table games. Casinos have the potential to make more money from an increase in poker playing tourists without having to worry about the costs of paying more dealers.

However, electronic table games alone won't keep West Virginia up with competition it is facing in neighboring states such as Pennsylvania. The new casinos in that state are already eating into W. Va. casino's profits.

And according to one gaming exec, only live games are going to be able to compete with that by encouraging players to travel farther and play longer.

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