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S. Florida, West Virginia Gaming Success Story
blue-collar state, known for the hardscrabble coal mining towns tucked
in its narrow valleys, is fast becoming a gambling empire in Appalachia.
Dog and horse racing tracks, which were skidding toward bankruptcy a
decade ago, now glitter with expansive rows of slot machines. In this
poor state, West Virginia’s four pari-mutuel tracks form an $800 million
industry. Mini casinos have sprouted in bars, strip malls and fraternal
organizations in neighborhoods from the southern coalfields to the
northern steel towns, and in the rural hamlets in between.
South Florida readies for slots at four pari-mutuels in Broward County,
West Virginia provides something of a blueprint for the economic and
cultural implications slots-driven gambling could bring, according to
experts and an industry executive with ties to both states.
Florida legislators in Tallahassee now are trying to define the payout
and taxation rates of the latest voter-approved gambling industry to be
at two tracks and two jai-alai frontons. Those are decisions West
Virginia once faced.
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2004 Online Casino News Archive