The West Virginia Tourism Commission has approved $175,000 in matching funds for an advertising program for the Mountaineer Casino Racetrack And Resort one month after delaying the grant over concerns that the planned campaign would be uninspiring.

Owned by Reno-based Eldorado Resorts Incorporated, the casino in the state’s northern panhandle revealed that it now intends to utilize the matching funds to target out-of-state players including those from nearby Ohio and Pennsylvania.

According to a report from the Charleston Gazette-Mail newspaper, last month saw Joseph Manchin IV from the 15-member West Virginia Tourism Commission object to the grant, which sees the southern state match advertising money through partnerships that may include other tourism-friendly businesses, because the intended campaign was bland and generic while he moreover described the casino as “in a holding pattern or worse”.

“I would like to send a very clear message to Eldorado [Resorts Incorporated] that this is not free money,” Manchin said at the time.

Machin, the son of senior United States Senator Joe Manchin, was reportedly reacting to third-quarter financial results that showed a 9.2% decrease year-on-year in net revenues for the Hancock County venue to $36.68 million while its adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization for the three-month period dropped by 38.7% to $3.95 million.

However, the West Virginia Tourism Commission did agree to match the $175,000 requested by four other tourist destinations including the Wheeling Island Hotel Casino And Racetrack in nearby Wheeling, the Mardi Gras Casino And Resort close to Charleston, the Hollywood Casino At Charles Town Races, which is located only seven miles from the state’s eastern borders with Maryland and Virginia, and the Snowshoe Mountain Resort in rural Pocahontas County.

The West Virginia casino, which offers 2,100 slots alongside 39 gaming tables, explained that the funds will now be used for a “well-researched program” that is to include “a compelling visual campaign utilizing television and Internet media”.

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