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Day-trippers still coming to The Greenbrier casino

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - State efforts to put the brakes on tour bus day trips to The Greenbrier's casino haven't stopped the practice.

Lottery Director John Musgrave told the Lottery Commission this week that the White Sulphur Springs resort has complied with an order to stop busing gamblers to the casino. He said day trips promoted by charter bus companies are beyond the scope of the state law that authorized the casino.

Abbott Trailways of Roanoke, Va., provided a trip The Greenbrier on Wednesday and has another 15 trips scheduled for the rest of the year. Travel Lovers of Lynchburg has a trip scheduled Saturday, the Charleston Gazette ( reported Thursday.

Representatives of both companies said the companies were advised by management at The Greenbrier that their trips would go on as scheduled.

Travel Lovers president Steve Arthur said he contacted Greenbrier management Wednesday morning after he read a media report about the Lottery Commission's Tuesday meeting.

"My understanding after talking with people at The Greenbrier this morning is that this is, in fact, an approved event, and it is still taking place as planned," Arthur told the newspaper on Wednesday.

Diane Eagle, an Abbott Trailways tour planner, said her company was told that its trips qualify as an event because they include a buffet lunch.

The Greenbrier's president, Jeff Kmiec, didn't immediately return a telephone message Thursday seeking comment.

The 1999 law that allowed The Greenbrier to build the casino also restricted access to registered overnight hotel guests or members of the Greenbrier Sporting Club. Legislation approved in 2009 granted an exception for registered participants at a convention or event at the resort, if at least 400 rooms are booked.

In September, the commission updated its rules to clarify that the Greenbrier Classic PGA golf tour is such an event. At its Nov. 27 meeting, the commission plans to clarify the definition of "event" again.

Both Abbott Trailways and Travel Lovers have been advertising day trips to The Greenbrier's casino.

Arthur said The Greenbrier provided the copy for Travel Lovers' ad.

"We didn't make this up. It was done under their auspices, and under their control," he said.

Arthur said his company's Saturday trip probably will be its last because of the controversy.

"This was their program," Arthur said of the casino day trip. "I kind of feel like I'm caught in the middle."

Lottery general counsel Kathy Lawson said Lottery officials would take a hands-off position until the commission's Nov. 27 meeting, as long as the day trips are not being promoted strictly as casino outings.


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