CHESTER, West Virginia – as reported by the Wheeling News Register: ”Mountaineer Race Track and Gaming Resort President Ted Arneault said he wants to prepare Hancock County and the state's Northern Panhandle for the coming of gambling machines in Pennsylvania and the impact they will have on the area's economy if table gambling is not approved.
“On Thursday, Mountaineer officials gathered local legislators and business representatives for an economic summit, and Arneault lobbied for the passage of legislation to allow a vote on table gambling this legislative session.
“Legislators head back to Charleston Jan. 11.
“Arneault stressed that table gambling could lead to $1 billion in new investment at Mountaineer, which he added was needed as Hancock County's unemployment rate continues to rise.
“...Arneault cited the following figures:
“ The legalized gambling industry at the state's four tracks is the third-largest producer of tax revenue in the state, contributing $375 million for the fiscal year ending June 30. During the same period, personal income tax generated $1.7 billion and the state's 6 percent sales tax, $992 million.
“ The coal severance tax contributed $264.6 million during the same period.
“ If the tracks were to be able to provide table gambling, Arneault expects the annual tax revenue to jump from $375 million to $425 million in 2007. Without table gambling, however, he predicts a drop in revenue to $265 million for the year.
“ The state's four tracks - Mountaineer, Wheeling Island, Tri-State and Charles Town - presently employ 4,700, but another 2,000 jobs could be added by 2007 if table gambling was offered. The work force likely will be reduced to 3,500 otherwise, according to Arneault….”
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