Study Legalized Gambling Future

Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack officials’ decision not to fold ’em on table gambling was good news for the more than 100 people whose jobs depend on it. But West Virginians still need to rethink our bets on legalized gambling.

Earlier this year, state legislators were asked to cut the $2.5 million annual fee the local casino pays to offer table gambling. Then-General Manager Jim Simms said Wheeling Island was losing $1 million a year on table gambling and might have to stop doing it.

But last week, new General Manager Osi Imomoh said table gambling will be retained. The full fee will be paid.

Imomoh added the facility still is losing money on table gambling, however. Approval from the state Lottery Commission to offer electronic table gambling is being sought as a way to reduce costs.

Imomoh also has called on state officials to reevaluate gambling regulations.

That is an excellent idea. A comprehensive study of all facets of wagering is needed. One issue that should be considered is whether the state’s enormous subsidies to the racing horse and greyhound industries should be eliminated.

Competition from other states has made legalized gambling far from a sure thing in West Virginia. A long-term strategy to deal with the challenge is needed and should be adopted.