In West Virginia, proposed legislation that would have permitted two of the state’s casinos to each establish a satellite facility featuring gaming tables and video lottery terminals has fallen at the first hurdle after failing to make it past the committee stage.
According to a report from The Parkersburg News and Sentinel newspaper, House Bill 2901 was on the wrong side of an eight-to-seven vote by the West Virginia State Senate’s Finance Committee after being heavily criticized by members of the West Virginia Amusement and Limited Video Lottery Association, which represents video lottery machine operators in the southern state.
The newspaper reported that the proposed legislation had sought to give Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Racetrack and Mardi Gras Casino and Resort, both of which are owned by Delaware North Companies Incorporated, permission to open an off-site venue so long as these were located in the same county as their older counterparts.
John Cavacini, President for the West Virginia Racing Association, told the newspaper that House Bill 2901 had also suffered because officials in the city of Wheeling had not sufficiently supported the measure due to fears that Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Racetrack would eventually have its entire operation relocated to the newer location.
“The sad part about the whole thing is the city of Wheeling, although in the end it was neutral on the bill, played around and did not give its approval until Tuesday. By that time, the opponents, the bar machine people, had the legislature thinking Wheeling was against it. The city and the bar machine people cost Ohio County $20 million worth of investment by Delaware North [Companies Incorporated] and 150 jobs.”
John Myers, Director for the West Virginia State Lottery, told legislators before the vote that Delaware North Companies Incorporated was planning to construct a 35,000 sq ft satellite venue in Ohio County that was to have required up to 150 new employees. However, this scheme is now dead despite an earlier purported assurance from the operator’s Regional President, Kim Florence, that her firm was committed to keeping its Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Racetrack facility open.
Florence reportedly told members of the Finance Committee…
“This is an opportunity for us to grow our revenue. We’re not looking to reduce the size of the [Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Racetrack] property. We are required to have a hotel and a racetrack. That facility is remaining intact, though it is not without its challenges.”