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West Virginia Senate Closes Session With Gambling Bill

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The West Virginia Senate closed their legislative session on Saturday by passing a gambling bill aimed at helping race tracks in the state compete with neighboring casinos. The legislation will allow the tracks to upgrade their current slot machines.

The four tracks in the state that have slot machines have been concerned about their ability to compete with casinos in neighboring states due to the age of the slot machines in use. Technology has changed over the past decade, and the tracks were seeking assistance from the government to help pay to upgrade the machines.

The Senate passed the measure Saturday, and now up to $10 million annually can be used from the taxes the casinos pay the state. The money comes as a welcomed relief for the tracks, and state lawmakers are hoping that the new machines will mean an increase in gaming revenue at the tracks.

West Virginia has been one of the dozens of states that have expanded their gaming industries in the past couple of years. The Greenbrier, one of the most famous destinations in the US, added an underground casino last year. Additionally, the betting laws have been loosened to give the gaming facilities more leeway to expand their operations.

Older casinos have been having a hard time competing with the new resorts that are being built across the country. In Las Vegas, the Sahara Hotel and Casino announced this week that they will be closing their doors for good in May. Newer casinos such as the Cosmopolitan and CityCenter have made it difficult for casinos such as the Sahara to attract customers.

The West Virginia law that was passed by the Senate Saturday will now make its way to the Governor, Earl Ray Tomblin. The governor has the power to veto the legislation, but there is no indication that Tomblin will do so.

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