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Charles Town Slots Would Expand If Table Games Allowed

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The owner of Charles Town Races & Slots says it will invest $200 million in the property if lawmakers allow West Virginia?s four tracks to feature casino-style table games, a company official said.

Penn National Gaming Inc. would build a 500-room hotel and a 25,000-square-foot conference center if it were allowed to expand, John Finamore, Penn National's senior vice president of regional operations, told Jefferson County commissioners on Monday. State track owners say they need to expand their venues to compete with the expansion of slot machines in surrounding states.

State tracks currently operate slot machines but Pennsylvania's slots are expected to come on line this year. Track owners plan to go straight to the public to press their claims that West Virginia laws should be expanded to permit casino-style gambling.

State lawmakers have debated a bill but have yet to take action. Finamore told Jefferson County commissioners that he expects another table game bill will be introduced during the Legislature?s 2007 Regular Session.

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