by John Kady
West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin has signed legislation authorizing table games at four Mountain State racetracks, and now each county in which the tracks are located will hold local-option votes on the gambling expansion.
The office of Secretary of State Betty Ireland said each county would set a date for the vote. A spokesperson said the votes would be scheduled for June; published reports indicated all four tracks have agreed on June 9.
The four tracks in the state already have video lottery terminals operated under the auspices of the state lottery, which would oversee table games as well. West Virginia’s tracks are Charles Town Races & Slots and Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort (Thoroughbred), and Tri-State Racetrack & Gaming Center and Wheeling Island Racetrack & Gaming Center (Greyhound).
West Virginia lawmakers in March passed legislation authorizing the establishment of craps, poker, roulette, and blackjack at the tracks. A spokeswoman at Wheeling Downs said table games would increase the track’s revenue by $10 million a year according to estimates.
An anti-gambling group has said it would file a lawsuit opposing the local-option votes.