Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Latest Updates

April 5, 2013

New W.Va. casino on track; casino fee bill dies

CHARLESTON —  A West Virginia House committee approved the construction of the state’s sixth casino but also declined to consider a Senate bill that would lower the fees paid by four existing casinos.

The bill to allow a new casino in Pendleton County passed 16-7 Friday with mostly Republican opposition. Some Republican delegates said that the gaming industry is declining and that the new casino would take business from the existing ones.

“I’m concerned that there is a finite-at-best pie in the gaming industry and the more facilities we add, we’re just slicing that pie smaller and smaller and smaller,” Del. Patrick Lane, R-Kanawha, said.

The proposed casino’s developers would have to build 1,000 home sites and a 150-room hotel. No one from the developer was there to address the committee, but Steve Conrad, a Pendleton County resident, spoke in favor of the proposal. Conrad said that Pendleton County has been hit hard by job losses. Hanover Shoes closed its plant there in 2000 and a Naval communication center is scheduled to close in 2015.

Conrad said the casino would provide much-needed jobs and economic development. He said that the developer’s willingness to invest was proof of the casino’s viability. Franklin, W.Va., where the casino would be located, has less than 800 residents and is not served by any interstate highways. The casino would be heavily dependent on Virginia residents for business.

Local voters would also have to approve the plan in a referendum before it could be built.

Del. Woody Ireland, R-Ritchie, was sympathetic to Pendleton County’s plight, but didn’t think a new casino was the answer.

“I’d hope that the good folks in Pendleton County come up with another Hanover Shoe factory,” Ireland said. “I truly believe that when we base our economy on the gambling industry, we’re basing our economy on soft and shifting sands and that’s pretty well referenced by a bill we had on our agenda today, Senate bill 615.”

That bill would have lowered the fees paid by each of the state’s four racetrack-casinos by $1 million. Wheeling Island casino threatened to drop table games unless its fee was lowered.

The bill passed the Senate earlier this week on a 24-10 vote but was dropped from the House committee agenda Friday, effectively dooming its chance of passage. Judiciary Chairman Tim Miley, D-Harrison, said he didn’t think there were enough votes on his committee to pass the bill.

Wheeling Island says it will lose $1 million on table games this year. Discontinuing table games would mean more than 100 jobs lost.

Legislators questioned whether Wheeling Island really needs the fee reduction. The casino has grossed more than $70 million in slot machine revenue since July 1.

Mardi Gras casino in Charleston makes about half as much on gaming as Wheeling Island. Mardi Gras has not requested a fee reduction.

Amid competition from neighboring states, revenue at the four racetrack-casinos are expected to be at least $200 million lower this fiscal year than they were in 2012.


Text Only
Latest Updates
  • suspect john smith Suspect arrested, faces felony charges following shooting incident

    A Mercer County man was arrested and arraigned on felony charges Thursday after a domestic altercation led to a shooting incident on Methodist Hill Road.
    Mercer County 911 dispatched first responders to the scene approximately 9:50 a.m. Deputies with the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department were the first to arrive.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thousands rally for coal

    The echo of people chanting, “Hey, hey, EPA, don’t take our jobs away” could be heard in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Thursday.
    The voices came from about 5,000 United Mine Workers of America (UMW) members and their families along with other unions such as the Boilermakers Union and the Brotherhood of Electrical Workers International (IBEW) marching through the streets.

    August 1, 2014

  • George Allan Truhlar.png McDowell man in custody on sex crime charges

     A McDowell County man is behind bars after allegedly exchanging pornographic images with teenage girls and attempting to set up encounters with them, authorities said Thursday.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Woman on probation for previous drug charges arraigned on new counts

     A Mercer County woman who was sentenced on a drug distribution conviction more than 2 years ago, was arraigned on Thursday on charges contained in a new 4-count federal indictment alleging that she distributed drugs.

    August 1, 2014

  • West Africa Ebola outbreak tops 700 deaths

    Security forces went house-to-house in Sierra Leone’s capital Thursday looking for Ebola patients and others exposed to the disease as the death toll from the worst recorded outbreak in history surpassed 700 in West Africa.
    U.S. health officials urged Americans not to travel to the three countries hit by the medical crisis:  Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

    July 31, 2014

  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 31, 2014

  • The virtues of lying

    Two computational scientists set out recently to simulate the effects of lying in a virtual human population. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that lying is essential for the growth of a cohesive social network.

    July 31, 2014

  • lockport-police.jpg Police department turns to Facebook for guidance on use of 'negro'

    What seems to be a data entry mistake by a small town police department in western New York has turned into a social media firestorm centered around the word "negro" and whether it's acceptable to use in modern society.

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 2.12.55 PM.png VIDEO: Five-year-old doesn't want her brother to grow up

    Sadie, an adorable 5-year-old from Phoenix, wants her brother to stay young forever, so much so that her emotional reaction to the thought of him getting older has drawn more than 10 million views on YouTube.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Comiskey.jpg Sterling not the only bad owner

    As the Donald Sterling era in with the Los Angeles Clippers looks to be winding down, many are calling him the worst owner in sports history. From being cheap with the players to his most recent racist comments, it's hard to argue against.
    Yet, there are a few owners of athletic teams who can give Sterling a run for title of worst in history.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo