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Wheeling Island Casino hosting lawmakers urges tax break

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A West Virginia casino is invoking border state competition to urge the Legislature to reconsider gambling taxes.

Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack is helping to host lawmakers during this week's interim study meetings. Casino President and General Manager Osi Imomoh warned the House-Senate Finance Committee Friday his venue is increasingly unable to compete with Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Imomoh said Wheeling Island's total business has declined by more than a third in the last three years. It has lost nearly three-fourths of its table games business. That prompted the casino to balk initially at renewing its $2.5 million table games license. Imomoh calculated West Virginia's effective casino tax rate at 42 percent. He said that's the sixth-highest in the United States. He said lower taxes would leave more revenues for hiring and upgrades.


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