Old ban of video lottery nullified

November 22, 1996


Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A ban on video lottery at the Charles Town Races, passed by the Jefferson County Commissioners in 1990, won't have any effect on the overwhelming approval of the games by voters two weeks ago, according to Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Michael Cassell.

Cassell, who represents the commissioners, said they wanted to know if they should take any action on the ban following the approval of the games.

Cassell said in a written opinion to the commissioners that video lottery is part of the West Virginia Lottery system and the county does not have any control over it.


The 1990 ban approved by the commissioners was passed before the state passed a video lottery act in 1994, Cassell said. The act overrides any local ban if voters decide to approve the games, Cassell said.

"I was afraid that's what was going to happen. But since that's the law, that's the law," said Commissioner Edgar Ridgeway, who had opposed video lottery.

Video lottery passed two weeks ago with 64 percent of the vote. The approval of the games paves the way for the takeover of the track by Penn National Gaming Inc.

The commissioners passed the 1990 ban in response to a citizen outcry that video lottery would be the beginning of casino gambling in Charles Town. At the time, horsemen were also opposed to the games.

This year, the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association, the West Virginia Breeders Association and the West Virginia Breeders Classic supported the games.

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