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Table games should not be a losing enterprise

Jim Simms, president and general manager of the Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack, said his company could lose $1 million this year on poker, craps, roulette and blackjack.

Wheeling Island began as a dog racing operation. Slot machines supposedly were added to subsidize the dog racing.  

As other states added slot machines, West Virginia legalized table games in 2007.

But Ohio and Pennsylvania have since legalized table games as well, and Wheeling Island is facing stiff competition.

If Wheeling Island loses $1 million this year on table games, that would be devastating.

West Virginia charges casinos a $2.5 million annual fee and taxes the games at 35 percent. Pennsylvania's rate is 16 percent and Ohio's is 33 percent.

Simms wants lawmakers to reconsider the $2.5 million licensing fee.

While in the neighborhood, lawmakers should find out how dog racing affects casino finances as well.


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