CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia's four racetrack-casinos were the big winners Wednesday, when the state Tourism Commission awarded about $1.8 million in tourism advertising matching grants.
The four casinos accounted for more than $800,000 of the grant awards, led by the Hollywood Casino in Charles Town, which received the largest matching grant, at $318,402.
Mardi Gras Casino in Nitro received a $209,766 grant, followed by a $166,992 grant for the Mountaineer Casino in Chester, and $108,089 for Wheeling Island Casino.
The two Northern Panhandle casinos have been hit hard by competition from two Pittsburgh-area casinos, and as of last month, a new casino in Cleveland.
Snowshoe Mountain Resort was the recipient of the largest non-casino matching grant, at $256,000.
Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau received a $125,983 grant.
Other recipients are: Convention and Visitors Bureau of Marion County, $22,604; Greater Parkersburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, $32,191; Convention and Visitors Bureau of Greenbrier County, $102,894; Jefferson County Convention and Visitors Bureau, $191,450; Lakeview Golf Resort & Spa, $94,320; Mercer County Convention and Visitors Bureau, $67,845; Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau, $71,055; and Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau (Brooke and Hancock counties), $34,766.
Started in 1995, the 50-50 matching grants are funded through state Lottery profits, and are awarded by the Tourism Commission on a quarterly basis.