CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Senate Finance Committee members addressed two bills dealing with casino gambling Monday -- but not a proposal to reduce the table game licensing fee for the state's four racetrack-casinos.
That bill (SB615) -- which would lower the fee from $2.5 million a year to as little as $1.5 million -- was extensively amended in the Senate Judiciary Committee and would need to advance from the Finance Committee by Tuesday to have any chance of passage this session.
Management of the Wheeling Island casino -- hard hit by competition from casinos in nearby Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio -- has indicated it will not renew its table games license July 1 at the current fee.
Committee members did advance a bill to authorize a sixth casino in the state, at a "rural resort community" in a county with less than 10,000 population (SB492). Although envisioned by sponsors to apply to Fisher Mountain Resort, near Franklin, Pendleton County, committee members approved amendments by Sen. Clark Barnes, R-Randolph, that could allow other locations to seek the casino license.
The committee also advanced a bill updating terms in video slots definitions (SB478). That bill applies to the same section of state law as SB615, but committee members did not attempt to amend that bill into it.
Also Monday, the Finance Committee advanced bills to: