Learn Bottom Line On W.Va. Gambling

Once again this week, state legislators were asked to reconsider fees and taxes paid by gambling casinos in West Virginia. That certainly is a good idea – providing it is done objectively.

By that we mean simply that Mountain State lawmakers need to be comparing apples to apples, so to speak, when looking at how much a casino pays for the privilege of raking in huge pots from gamblers.

This week, while lawmakers were holding interim committee meetings here, Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack General Manager Osi Imomoh warned them the local facility is having increasing difficulty competing with casinos in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Imomoh and some others in the gambling industry want reductions in fees and taxes paid to the state.

But exactly how does the 33 percent in table gambling revenue and the $2.5 million annual licensing fee paid here stack up against other states? And what is the bottom line? That is, what are the actual profit margins here and in Ohio and Pennsylvania?

Perhaps West Virginia University researchers could investigate and give legislators solid numbers. Clearly, they are needed to make intelligent decisions about the future of legalized gambling in West Virginia.