West Virginia Voters Approve Table Games at Tri-State Greyhound
Yesterday, voters in Kanawha County, West Virginia, went to the polls to cast their vote on a measure that would allow gambling table games at Tri-State Greyhound Track & Slots.
Church leaders and conservative republicans took a grassroots approach to try and defeat the measure by purchasing $7,000 worth of yard signs and a billboard telling followers that they should vote no to table gaming, signed by god.
The measure was lost by the christians with a margin of 33 votes after 155 ballots were found to have been originally uncounted from three precincts.
Early voting in the county brought in over 10,000 balloters, indicating there was much interest in this issue. Expected turnout was 20% of the counties 125,000 registered voters, however more than twice that showed up to express their views.
If the vote holds, the opposition can request a recall in five years.
Operators of the track have vowed to invest over $250 million into the track for upgrades and a new 250 room hotel. New jobs will be created and it will be a boom to economic development
Licensing fees of $1.5 million annually will directly benefit in-home senior services and help to reduce state debt, while taxes generated will help to offset racetrack pensions and assist the breeding industry for dogs and horses. Some of the tax revenue will be given to local municipalities within the county.
"It's been pretty up and down. We couldn't concede if we wanted to," said John Carey, executive director of the anti-gambling West Virginia Values Coalition. "We're trying to get a handle on where those provisional ballots are coming from." There are 500 votes that are being challenged over questions such as whether they were cast in the proper precinct.
Using fear as their primary force to bring out their supporters, churches, social conservatives and other opponents warned of rising rates of crime, divorce, suicide and bankruptcy if gambling is expanded in the state.
"We knew that the election was going to be close," said John Cavacini, president of the state Racing Association. "This county is split right down the middle on the issue of gambling, the expansion of gambling."
August 12, 2007
Posted By Terry Goodwin
Staff Editor, CasinoGamblingWeb.com
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