The cards are in the air at two West Virginia racetrack casinos.For years, the racetracks in the state have had slot machines, but not until now, as the result of new legislation, have table games been introduced.Residents of the counties where the casinos reside still had to vote to approve the games, but three counties did give them the thumbs-up.
On Friday, two racetracks, the Mountaineer Race Track and Gaming Resort in Hancock County and the Wheeling Island Racetrack & Gaming Center in Ohio County, opened their poker rooms for business.Wheeling opened at 10:00am and according to spokeswoman Kim Florence, its twenty tables were completely filled by noon.Mountaineer opened at 4:00pm and was able to fill its thirty-seven tables.
Tri-State Racetrack & Gaming Center in Kanawah County has plans to open its new poker room later this year.
Earlier in the week, Mountaineer and Wheeling held charity poker games as a sort of test run.Everything went smoothly and the West Virginia Lottery Commission allowed them to start spreading real money games on Friday, as early as 7:00am.
Other table games such as blackjack and roulette are also allowed under the new rules, but the racetracks felt that poker would be easier to implement first.They hope to get those games up and running by the beginning of 2008.