The West Virginia House and Senate voted Thursday to approve HB2718 which will permit local elections in certain counties to decide whether to authorize table games at racetracks. Governor Joe Manchin told the Associated Press after the vote that he would sign the bill barring any legal or technical flaws.
The new legislation could allow West Virginia's four racetracks to add poker, blackjack, roulette and other casino table games, if the counties vote to approve them.
The table games would become part of the state lottery system and taxes on the games would benefit the entire state, not just the counties the games are in.
The racetracks have also pledged to add more and better-paying jobs to staff the table games. There is potential to add as many as 450 jobs.
Table games could help the racetracks retain the out-of-state patrons as well as give poker players and such a closer alternative than Atlantic City, Lottery Marketing Director Libby White told the Associated Press.
Many of the gamblers who come to the tracks are from surrounding states, but Pennsylvania opened up competing slot machine casinos last year. Plus Maryland and Ohio have been debating legalizing slot machines as well.
The racetracks in West Virginia have brought in public revenues of $2.1 billion since 1995 due to the video lottery machines they have.
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