West Virginia Casino and Card Room Gaming
In March 1994, legislators authorized casino, racino and riverboat gaming in West Virginia. Riverboat gaming was only authorized at the Ohio River from the northernmost site of Hancock County to the southernmost site of Wayne County; the Great Kanawha River from Point Pleasant to Belle; and the Monongahela River from Fairmont to the northern border of Monongalia County. At the time, only VLTs were allowed to operate at the racinos.
In 2001, the West Virginia legislature passed the Limited Video Lottery Act, allowing for a limited number of video lottery machines in adult environments. The measure outlawed pre-existing "gray" or "poker" machines and restricted the number of limited VLTs to no more than 9,000. Environments are classified as adult-only if they possess a Class A, Alcohol and Beverage Commission (ABCA) license and meet various other legal requirements.
It should be noted that machines in both the racetrack environment and limited environments are the same, with the exception of "reel and coin drop" machines, which are allowed only in the racetrack environment.
VLTs in West Virginia must pay out between 80% and 95%. Limited VLT establishments are not allowed to advertise the product in any way.
A portion of the tax revenue generated by VLTs at the state's four licensed racetracks is allotted for the dog and horse racing industries, and a small part goes to state and local governments.
After years of failed legislative efforts, legislators finally voted to allow table games at the state's four racetracks in June 2007. The Racetrack Lottery Table Games Act authorized the Lottery to oversee and regulate table gaming at the four licensed racetracks, subject to passage of local referendums. Table games included poker, blackjack, Caribbean stud, craps, roulette, and three- and four-card poker, among others. Gov. Joe Manchin signed the bill into law, with the provision that it allowed for local referendums and provided funding for senior care. The legislation required a $2.5 million annual renewal fee from each track. Currently, table games are offered at all four of the state's racetracks.
In November 2008, a voter referendum approved casino-style gaming at the Greenbrier Historic Hotel. Legislators then passed SB575 in June 2009, amending regulations and provisions to protect locals and encourage tourism relating to table games at Greenbrier. The Greenbrier Casino Club officially opened 2 July 2010.
In March 2017, a new House bill to regulate online gambling was introduced. If passed, it would allow current gaming facilities to offer online gambling; however, it faces stiff opposition in the Republican-controlled legislature.
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