Tuesday, April 05, 2005

WV Table Gaming (Poker) Bill Update

Yeah, I know I haven't posted lately. Here is an update on the Table Gaming bill in the WV Legislature.Part of an editorial in the Charleston Gazette


April 05, 2005

Legislature: Time running out

ONLY five days remain in the Legislature’s session, and several important measures are still in limbo...

...Commendably, the Senate passed a bill to let county voters decide whether racetracks can add casino-style table games (SB442), but it’s languishing in the House Judiciary and Finance committees. This step would add nearly 2,000 more local jobs and bring more tourists, helping the economy.

The latter bill naturally draws fire from fundamentalist groups who consider gambling immoral, but we prefer to see it as purely an economic issue, as follows:

In the last fiscal year, the state government’s largest revenue source was the state personal income tax, which generated $1.07 billion. Second-largest was the 6 percent sales tax, which produced $958 million. Third-largest was — you guessed it — the state lottery, generating $483 million. This is a huge benefit to the Mountain State.

In addition to state revenue, the gaming industry already provides 4,600 West Virginia jobs — and this number is projected to grow to 6,500 if table games are approved. The state’s racetracks draw 5 million out-of-state visitors annually, and their tourist spending boosts the local economy.

Seen economically, table games would be a healthy shot in the arm. So we hope local-option elections are approved.

But time is running out for this and other desirable bills. If they don’t emerge from committees soon, they may lack enough time for the three daily readings required for passage. Even if lawmakers suspend rules and vote for immediate passage, some beneficial bills could be lost in the last-minute chaos...

...In this rush-rush last week of the session, wise and sensible action is needed.

I have emailed my Delegate on the Judiciary Committee (and will do so again tomorrow). I am a registered voter in his party so maybe he will even read it.

I still think it would be sweet to have the WV-WPBT here.


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