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Voters in West Virginia Approve More Table Gambling at Casinos

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Voters in Hancock County, West Virginia, went to the polls yesterday and by an overwhelming majority of almost 2-1, voted to allow table games at Mountaineer Race Track and Gaming Resort.

Ted Arneault, president of the facility said they "have been talking about the 700 new jobs for a long time and now we look forward to it becoming a reality."

The vote comes just three weeks after voters in Ohio County approved expansion at Wheeling Island Racetrack and Gaming Center, also by an almost 2-1 margin.

Track officials said that table games are needed in West Virginia due to competition from neighboring Pennsylvania's new slot machine gambling program and the possibility that surrounding states may legalize slot machines.

State and local governments have come to rely on revenue generated by gambling activity to finance senior programs, tourism and education. Adding table games may help the state maintain and increase its revenues, which are threatened by out of state casinos.

The fee due the state for table game licensing is $1.5 million the first year, $2.5 million annually thereafter. In addition, the state will tax at the rate of 35%, proceeds after winnings have been paid on table games. This revenue is allocated to several pre-defined areas of state and local programs.

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