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Jefferson County Voters Approves Casino Table Games Proposal

Voters in Jefferson County approved the addition of casino table games at Charles Town Races and Slots on December 5th, 2009 by a three-two margin with all thirty-two precincts reporting, according to the complete but unofficial results of the vote.

Of the total 10,622 votes that were cast 59% or 6,279 were in favor of adding casino table games like blackjack to the more than five thousand slot machines at the thoroughbred horse racing track. Local school board president Peter Dougherty said that it is a very good day not only for Charles Town Races and Slots but for the education system as well.

Officials said that tax earnings from the eighty-five casino tables that would be available in June 2010 would result in about $4 million annually for the local school system and the Jefferson County government and its five towns each would receive $1.3 million.

At the opposition's headquarters on Washington Street, the members of VoteNoTableGames.org said that they were outspent by the other side. Debbie Royalty of Summit Point, West Virginia said that she hopes that Penn National Gaming Incorporated will keep the promises that they have made now that they have earned the consent of the state voters.

Before Saturday's decision, Charles Town Races % Slots blitzed Jefferson County with television and newspaper advertisements. Support for the proposal came in endorsement from groups like the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, Development Authority, Chamber of Commerce, Convention and Visitors Bureau and Gateway New Economy Council.

About 1,500 green signs urging state voters to support the proposal lined the roadways of the county, outnumbering the three hundred white "Vote No" signs placed by the VoteNoTableGames.org, the grass-roots group that opposed the casino table games proposal.

The Reverend M. Douglas Fraim, the pastor of Bolivar United Methodist Church and the president of the opposition, said that he believed that the efforts of their members were more than enough in spite of the huge amount of money Charles Town Races % Slots is spending to push the proposal.

Charles Town Races and Slots General Manager Al Britton said that before the vote on Saturday, he felt better than he did compared two years ago when the casino table games proposal were defeated fifty-six percent to forty-four percent.

Britton said that from the start, officials of Penn National Gaming Incorporated, the owners of Charles Town Races and Slots, plan not to seek a referendum this year unless they felt that the voters would support the proposal this time.

Racetrack officials claim that the casino table games were needed to offset the gaming competition from the planned slots facilities in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

 

Monday, March 08 , 2010
Victor Sanchez