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Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

W.V. Poker Posts 1st Profits

Written by Tom Somach in Poker News

Legal poker rooms in the State of West Virginia earned a combined profit in excess of a million dollars in their first month of operation.

The state opened its first two legal poker rooms last month in existing “racinos”–race tracks that also have slot machines.

One poker room is at the Mountaineer Racetrack and Gaming Resort in Chester, W.V., which is a horse-racing track, and the other poker room is at the Wheeling Island Racetrack and Gaming Center in Wheeling, W.V., which is a dog-racing track.

According to official figures just released by the West Virginia Lottery Commission, which supervises gambling in the state, from Oct. 20 through Nov. 17 the Mountaineer track earned $711,352 in poker revenues and the Wheeling Island track earned $637,337 in poker revenues, for a combined take of $1,348,689.

That $1.3 million, however, pales in comparison to what the two racetracks earned in slot machine revenues over the same time period.

According to the official figures, Mountaineer earned $20.2 million in slot machine revenues and Wheeling Island earned $14.6 million in slot machine revenues.

Despite poker profits being a fraction of slot profits, Wheeling Island spokeswoman Kim Florence said poker has done better than anticipated.

“Poker is exceeding our expectations,” Florence said.

“Our tables have been busy and continue to be busy.”

Robert Marshall, Wheeling Island president and general manager, agreed.

“We’re very excited right now,” he said.

“It’s really starting to look like a casino.”

“Racino” profits are due to shoot even higher in the future.

That’s because traditional casino table games such as craps, roulette and blackjack are expected to soon be legalized also in West Virginia.

(E-mail Tom Somach at [email protected])

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