CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -The day Charles Town Races opened - Dec. 4, 1933 - it had no winter competition in the mid-Atlantic region or the Northeast, according to track lore.
But by the 1990s, it was losing millions of dollars, forcing it to close for part of 1995.
The key to revival, some said, was video lottery terminals, or slot machines.
In 1994, Jefferson County residents voted down a proposal to bring slot machines to the track.
But two years later, when Penn National Gaming offered to buy the track and restore it to glory, it insisted on having slots. This time, a referendum passed.
Slots have infused the track with money, luring players who pour billions of dollars into the machines - and win most of it back.