West Virginia Benefits From Casino - Tuesday 21st of February 2006

WEST VIRGINIA – As reported by the Herald Standard: "When Leonard, Tom and Ed Hunter departed their Edenfield Stages bus on a cool morning earlier this year, the three brothers, all well past their retirement age, headed immediately for their preferred corner at Wheeling Island Racetrack and Gaming Center in Wheeling, W.Va.

"…Each of the brothers brings a few hundred dollars they set aside for the trips to Wheeling, money they all said is well spent just having a good time.

"The casinos at the Island are abuzz early and often every day, the whirring and blinging of the machines creating a steady background drone that begins to reverberate in the floors and in the gamers themselves.

"…According to a 2004 community report issued by Wheeling Island, which offers the closest gaming to Fayette County, the resort generated more than $110 million in taxes and fees for the state in 2004, or 58 percent of the city of Wheeling's gross terminal income.

"The slots themselves typify the atmosphere of the place, bright reds and blues - flashing, flashing, flashing - selling the allure of quick cash.

"…There are several casinos on the multi-tiered ground levels of the massive complex, boasting 2,400 slot machines, as well as the 151 room hotel, live greyhound racing six days a week and a showroom for weekly entertainment that ranges from the Beach Boys and Hootie and the Blowfish to live boxing matches.

"…The Island has also helped the local economy by providing jobs, 994 to be precise, with more than $17 million in payroll expenses accrued in 2004, according to officials. The racetrack and gaming center have been in operation since 1994, and boast about 2 million visitors annually…"

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