The West Virginia Senate has approved a measure that will bring more gambling to the state. SB 100 was passed by a vote of 23 to 10, set to allow existing racetrack casinos the opportunity to open a satellite location. The smaller venue must be located in the same county where the licensed casino is in operation.
The bill still has a long way to go, including a referendum vote by county residents, but this approval puts the measure one step closer to fruition.
Details of the Measure
SB 100 will allow remote gaming facilities to be added in Ohio, Hancock, Kanawha, and Jefferson counties. Alternative locations can be created for racetrack video lottery terminals, racetrack table games, pari-mutuel betting on simulcast racing, and sports betting kiosks.
There are a lot of steps that must take place for the bill to move forward. Now that the Senate has approved it, the measure moves on to the House of Delegates. If the House approves it, then Governor Jim Justice needs to sign it into law. It is then that the referendum would be put up for a vote. After that, the state Lottery Commission must approve the locations before gaming can be added.
Senator Eric Nelson is the lead sponsor of the measure, and he is hopeful that the Mardi Gras Casino will be approved to open a satellite venue in the downtown area of Charleston. According to the senator, the Town Center Mall would make a great location, and it would benefit the local economy in a major way.
Nelson sees the bill as an opportunity if the mall owner and others are able to come to an agreement to allow a satellite location inside the mall. The senator sees the vacancies in the mall as a shame and would like to see the location put to good use. A gaming venue could bring about more business for the area with people visiting the casino but also traveling to nearby hotels and restaurants.
Changes Made to the Legislation
Before the bill was approved by the Senate, an amendment was made. Senator Ryan Weld changed the language of the measure to include a requirement for current West Virginia casino owners. Operators are not allowed to take away from their original gaming facilities if they open a satellite location.
Weld made sure that the bill stated the first location must offer the same amenities and accommodations as before including sports betting and gaming.