MARYLAND'S legalization of casino gambling on Tuesday had its origins in West Virginia in 1984, when West Virginians amended their constitution to legalize a little gambling.
By 1990, state lottery officials tried to save Mountaineer Racetrack in Chester by allowing its owners to install video slot machines. The other three racetracks eventually added video slot machines as well.
The gaming industry has used West Virginia to get three of its five larger neighbors to eventually accept casino gambling. The state was a willing participant.
The racetracks evolved into casinos, using casino revenues to prop up racing. As other states neared the legalization of video slots, West Virginia allowed local voters to authorize table games at the four racetracks and The Greenbrier.
By 2011, Charles Town was home to the 20th largest casino in the country.
Last year, West Virginia's five casinos employed a total of 4,475 people and paid more than $406 million in state taxes - nearly 9 percent of the state's general revenue fund.
To put that in perspective, the state's revenues from its 6 percent sales tax was just under $1.2 billion that year.
The legalization of casinos in Maryland brings competition for a highly lucrative market. West Virginia likely will see gambling revenues decline. State leaders will either have to cut back spending or find new revenue sources.
The decision to rescue Mountaineer 22 years ago with video slot machines also helped the gamblingindustry expand into Ohio, Pennsylvania and now, into Maryland.
It also spared West Virginians from billions of dollars worth of taxation.
Not a bad deal overall, even if trouble lies ahead..