Charles Town to Gain 1,500 Slots

Penn National Gaming has received permission to expand its slot machines at Charles Town Races by 1,500. The Pennsylvania racetrack and casino company anticipates adding 500 machines by the end of the year, and phasing in the remaining 1,000 machines through 2003.

All the new machines, approved Thursday by the West Virginia Lottery Commission, will be reel-spinning, coin-out slot machines.

"Since opening in 1997, additional gaming machines at Charles Town have been instrumental in driving patronage, revenue growth, profitability, and purses at the facility," said Penn National chief executive officer Peter Carlino. "Our investments at Charles Town continue, and we expect to complete the first phase of a $42 million expansion project this summer, including a 1,500-space parking facility, which will ease some of the capacity constraints."

Charles Town, which now offers 2,000 slot machines, is expected to have its full complement of 3,500 machines running by the late summer of 2003.