The Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack which is located in Wheeling, West Virginia, recently welcomed hundreds of guests as they cut the ribbon during their grand opening ceremony revealing 43 brand new game tables to the public. The ribbon cutting ceremony took place Thursday, December 20th 2007.

Wheeling Island’s opening of the new game tables has been highly anticipated for some time now. Ohio County only recently passed a local referendum on June 9th, 2007 allowing table games inside of casinos there. Since the passing of the referendum, the Wheeling Island has been consistently putting in tables. The first set came on October 19th with the addition of a 20-table poker room. The latest addition of tables was the icing on the cake.

Wheeling Island’s president and general manager, Bob Marshall, was quoted as saying, "This is an extremely exciting day for us. We are now a complete casino destination offering guests a full spectrum of entertainment and amenities 24 hours, 7 days a week. We are very pleased with the outcome. The floor looks beautiful and our dealers are anxious to get started.”

Attending the event were various local and state dignitaries, community leaders and honored guests who anxiously awaited the opening of the newest renditions. Once the ribbon cutting ceremony had finished, the players rushed in to the casino to play in the first black jack hands and witness the inaugural roll of the dice.

The introduction of the new tables will provide a wonderful boost to the local economy as well. Bob Marshall said that with the introduction of the new game tables, Wheeling Island had to hire an additional 500 employees. Last year they had 750 employees, so the introduction of 500 new ones has almost doubled the amount of jobs that they currently need filled. "We will continue our recruiting, hiring and training efforts over the next year. Our next session of dealer training classes will begin January 14 at West Virginia Northern Community College.”

 If only the United States Federal Government would follow in the footsteps of state and local levels of government, which is currently allowing the live gaming industry to blossom. For some reason the US Congress continues to go to war against online gaming, a war that they are slowly losing battle by battle. They have already had to make massive trade concessions to Europe, Japan and Canada (among others). Furthermore, they have also been forced by the WTO to make monetary compensations to smaller countries like Antigua, who continue to fiercely pressure the United States to retract the UIGEA bill.

Hopefully the US government will eventually follow the example of Ohio County and allow US gamers to play poker online without having to feel like criminals. Besides the fact that poker is a game of skill, not chance, there just a massive number of American poker players who continue to frequent online game rooms. It seems that on the state level the US still respects democracy, but higher up democracy is waning for America’s poker players.

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