by John Kady
Contested election results indicate voters approved table games at a Kanawha County, W.Va., dog track located less than an hour from the eastern Kentucky border.
The results showed 22,544 voted in favor of the proposal and 22,511 against it. But about 500 votes have been challenged by poll workers and will not be determined until the results of an official canvass scheduled for Aug. 17.
If the election stands, Tri-State Racetrack and Entertainment Center near Charleston will add games such as blackjack, craps, poker, and roulette to its selection of video lottery terminals. The facility, which also offers live Greyhound racing and full-card simulcasts year-round, would become the closest full-scale land-based casino to Kentucky, where expanded gambling looms an issue in the 2007 gubernatorial election.
Earlier this year, voters in Hancock County and Ohio County approved table games for Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort and Wheeling Island Racetrack and Gaming Center, respectively. Table games for Charles Town Races & Slots were defeated in a referendum in Jefferson County.
The West Virginia legislature earlier this year passed a bill allowing the games at the state’s four racetracks, all of which have VLTs. The legislature contained a local option provision that called for a vote by the people in each county before the games could be established.
Tri-State earlier unveiled plans for a $250-million expansion that would include a hotel and arena on the property should the table-games measure pass.