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Old 06-11-2007, 09:31 AM   #1
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Default Wheeling casino ups the ante with table games

As expected West Virginia got the tables. I really don't understand why we don't bring in the tables. You already have slots, why not go the full distance? It's dumb. I guess we will follow West Virginia's lead in the next five years or so. Until we get tables my money will be going to the Wheeling table games. Maybe if I had blue hair and was 87 years old I would play in Pennsylvania.

Wheeling casino ups the ante with table games
Monday, June 11, 2007

By Gary Rotstein, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The same morning that The Meadows Racetrack & Casino begins trying to divert slots players away from Wheeling Island Racetrack & Gaming Center, the West Virginia competitor is starting its work to lure them back.

Thousands of people are expected to fill The Meadows slot machine parlor when it has its ribbon-cutting as Western Pennsylvania's first racetrack casino at 8:30 a.m. today, then opens to the public at 9 a.m. The second of two invitation-only test days took place at the Washington County facility yesterday.

Wheeling Island, meanwhile, will start building a poker room on its ground floor today as a result of a referendum approved by Ohio County voters Saturday. Officials there hope to begin offering poker at 20 tables by Labor Day, and add another 42 tables upstairs for blackjack, craps and roulette by October.

The dual developments set in motion a long-term duel likely to take place between the two racetrack casinos, located an easy 40-minute drive from one another along Interstates 70 and 79.

Wheeling Island sought the legislation permitting it to add table games to help offset the potential loss of one-third or more of its slots players to Pennsylvania, said Wheeling Island spokeswoman Kim Florence.

"I think we'll see [the impact] relatively quickly," she said. "I think we'll get a good indication on Monday.

"With this additional table game product, we will be a complete casino, absolutely a destination resort," Ms. Florence stressed. "We will protect the current revenues we are bringing in."

Wheeling Island generates about $200 million in annual revenue with nearly 2,400 slot machines. The Meadows hopes eventually to match or surpass that revenue figure, although for now it has fewer machines -- 1,738 -- in a temporary casino to be replaced with a bigger, permanent structure in 2009.

Unlike The Meadows, Wheeling Island has its own hotel, a 151-room facility that Ms. Florence said could undergo expansion to double in size sometime after the table games are installed. That would be a $25 million project, she said.

First comes a $13 million investment in remodeling and equipment purchases associated with the table games, she said, then the training and hiring of 350 dealers and another 50 to 150 ancillary employees for additional security, administration and other purposes.

Classes for prospective dealers lasting anywhere from six to 12 weeks will begin June 25 at West Virginia Northern Community College. Wheeling Island will reimburse costs for its employees who take the training, Ms. Florence said. She said the dealers are expected to earn $35,000 in annual wages and tips.

She said the casino expects to keep the same number of slot machines, but could adjust that based on any drop off in play resulting from the new competition in North Strabane.

Officials at The Meadows, meanwhile, will closely watch what impact the table games have later this year on their own revenues. They have said they don't need table games to be successful but would welcome them if Pennsylvania permits them. They would want the state to reduce the tax rate from the 55 percent level set on slots, since table games are more costly to operate. West Virginia's tax rate on table games is 35 percent.

The Meadows carried out its second test period from 2 to 10 p.m. yesterday as a benefit for The Washington Hospital after raising an estimated $53,537 Friday for the Greater Washington County Food Bank. The Meadows is not able to retain any revenue for itself during the testing, which is held to evaluate operations of staff and equipment.

Mr. Hayes said The Meadows performed well with no serious issues. The most common issue Friday was with machines that failed to correctly accept patrons' player cards, which tally the volume of play for potential gifts provided by the casino.

Mr. Hayes said that was a customer service issue The Meadows would address, rather than a concern that would prompt state officials to prevent today's public debut.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07162/793180-58.stm
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Old 06-11-2007, 10:12 AM   #2
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Default Re: Wheeling casino ups the ante with table games

I agree with bringing in the table games, though I am primarily a slots player. I'm shocked Wheeling has taken this long to do it.

I was just at Wheeling Island yesterday and came back $380 ahead! I love Atlantic City and Vegas (and also Screaming Eagle Casino in Michigan), but I much prefer Wheeling as I've gotten to know a lot of the employees there and I always seem to have good luck on the one and only slot machine I play - the Double Red, White & Blue 7's!
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Old 06-11-2007, 01:09 PM   #3
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Default Re: Wheeling casino ups the ante with table games

My guess is they want to make sure it doesn't become out of hand.
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Old 06-11-2007, 01:33 PM   #4
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Default Re: Wheeling casino ups the ante with table games

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My guess is they want to make sure it doesn't become out of hand.
I'm not exactly sure how it could get out of hand. Las Vegas, Atlantic City and every other area which have table games seem to be doing just fine. Not everyone who gambles enjoys sitting in front of a slot machine and pumping coins.

Oh well, the money spent on table games will go to West Virginia instead of our city/state. Dumb politics if you ask me. Way to stay behind the times as always PA/Pgh
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Old 06-11-2007, 02:49 PM   #5
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Default Re: Wheeling casino ups the ante with table games

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I agree with bringing in the table games, though I am primarily a slots player. I'm shocked Wheeling has taken this long to do it.

I was just at Wheeling Island yesterday and came back $380 ahead! I love Atlantic City and Vegas (and also Screaming Eagle Casino in Michigan), but I much prefer Wheeling as I've gotten to know a lot of the employees there and I always seem to have good luck on the one and only slot machine I play - the Double Red, White & Blue 7's!
There was some talk about approving table games during the license application process, but it never got off the ground. But now that WV has approved them, I expect the state will follow suit - if they are in fact serious about keeping our residents' gambling money in the state.

Congrats on your winnings - it was a long time coming!
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Old 06-11-2007, 03:02 PM   #6
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Default Re: Wheeling casino ups the ante with table games

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I guess we will follow West Virginia's lead in the next five years or so.
Speaking of the devil.

Come on......come on.....you can do it......come on.....come on....

Table games to get another push in Pa.
Monday, June 11, 2007

By Tom Barnes, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

HARRISBURG -- Now that Wheeling, W.Va., has legalized table games, Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Bill DeWeese is forging ahead with a bill to legalize blackjack, poker and roulette in the Keystone State.

He plans to introduce the bill next week, aide Tom Andrews said today, but he's already introduced a related property-tax measure, House Bill 1489. It would increase the state sales tax by 0.5 percent and use the $700 million in additional revenue to lower property taxes, in addition to relief provide by casino revenue.

Gov. Ed Rendell claims that once all 14 slots casinos in Pennsylvania are up and running in a couple years, there will be at least $1 billion in new revenue for cutting property taxes. Mr. DeWeese wants to get the tax cuts started earlier, however, with a "tax shift,'' i.e., increasing the sales tax by 0.5 percent and decreasing the property tax. He also thinks that adding table games to Pennsylvania casinos will bring in more than the $1 billion the governor projects for tax relief.

But even Mr. Rendell, who likes slots, isn't in favor of adding table games this soon, so it could be a long fight on that issue. Whether the Legislature has the political will to increase the sales tax, even with all the revenue going for property tax relief, is another major question. Voters around the state said, during a May referendum on Act 1, that they didn't favor a tax shift where income taxes would rise and property taxes would fall.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07162/793262-100.stm
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Old 06-11-2007, 09:32 PM   #7
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Default Re: Wheeling casino ups the ante with table games

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There was some talk about approving table games during the license application process, but it never got off the ground. But now that WV has approved them, I expect the state will follow suit - if they are in fact serious about keeping our residents' gambling money in the state.

Congrats on your winnings - it was a long time coming!
Really - what is a casino without table games? Good for DeWeese for pushing the issue - think of all of the extra jobs table games will bring, as well as the added revenue which PA can't ill afford to ignore.

Thanks - it definitely was a long time coming, though I hadn't been gambling in several months. I think the table games are going to go back where my lucky machine is, though. They had a section of that room closed off yesterday and the floor was torn up. I hope the next time I take a trip down there, I don't have to search for "my" machine - LOL!
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Old 06-11-2007, 11:28 PM   #8
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Default Re: Wheeling casino ups the ante with table games

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so it could be a long fight on that issue
So what are we saying here? Judging that a good number still think it's 1986, I'm guessing we won't see tables until 2029?
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Old 06-12-2007, 01:49 PM   #9
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Default Re: Wheeling casino ups the ante with table games

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I'm not exactly sure how it could get out of hand. Las Vegas, Atlantic City and every other area which have table games seem to be doing just fine. Not everyone who gambles enjoys sitting in front of a slot machine and pumping coins.

Oh well, the money spent on table games will go to West Virginia instead of our city/state. Dumb politics if you ask me. Way to stay behind the times as always PA/Pgh
Well maybe not out of hand actually. Maybe popularity.
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Old 06-12-2007, 02:09 PM   #10
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Default Re: Wheeling casino ups the ante with table games

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Well maybe not out of hand actually. Maybe popularity.
All I heard when the anti-casino/anti-gambling group decided to start yapping was that "it's going to bring the mafia".

Breaking news for those people.........The mafia was here before the casinos. It is here right now and it will be here after the casinos. Not that we don't have bigger worries in this city.

Then there is the "Gambling destroys families" battle cry for these 'groups'. Much like with alcohol you make your own decisions. Nobody is making you put that drink to your lips nor is anybody making you go out of your way and play poker. Once again, this goes back to that little thing called personal responsibility.

You can call up a hotline and place bets to Vegas. You can play slots. But you can't play table games?
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