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West Virginia Conservative Group Fighting Table Games Expansion

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A conservative christain group called the West Virginia Family Foundation is asking a federal court to overturn a state law that has allowed four local elections on table games in the state.

After the June 9 votes had mixed results in two different counties, foundation president Kevin McCoy said he would wait on the outcome of the other elections before pursuing further action. The board of directors overruled him and decided over the weekend to file a federal lawsuit within three weeks. This action will not attempt to stop the two upcoming elections.

Hancock County votes on June 30 for Mountaineer Racetrack and Gaming Resort in Chester, Kanawha County votes on August 11 to decide for Tri-State Racetrack and Gaming in Nitro.

Voters in Ohio County approved the measure while voters in Jefferson County did not.

Wheeling Island Racetrack and Gaming Center will make West Virginia the 12th state to have full-fledged casino with slots and table games. Charles Town Voters defeated Penn Nationalís bid For Charles Town Race & Slots to have table games. Penn National, parent company of Charles Town Race & Slots must now wait 2 years before seeking another referendum on the issue.

The Christian Conservative group in May filed their first lawsuit, which argued that table games were never envisioned under the lottery system, which was created by constitutional amendment. The state Supreme Court of Appeals declined to hear that lawsuit.

"We think the decision the state Supreme Court made was erroneous. It was political, and they put revenue above the rule of law."

The federal case repeats some previous arguments and contends that legislators created an artificial control by declaring table games the intellectual property of the state.

"Intellectual property ownership is governed by federal, not state law," said McCoy. "It's nothing more than trademarks and patents and that kind of thing. It is a ruse and a fiction. Table games were not invented by West Virginia and therefore cannot be owned and controlled by the state."

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