CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -- When Penn National Gaming acquired the Charles Town Racetrack in 1997, it employed 238 people and nightly purses for the ponies totaled about $20,000, said Roger Ramey, vice president for public affairs at what has grown to become Charles Town Races & Slots.
Eleven years and more than $300 million later, Charles Town Races & Slots employs more than 1,300 people and purses have grown to exceed $180,000 per night, General Manager Al Britton said. That investment includes $21 million for The Inn at Charles Town, where West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin cut the ribbon Saturday morning.
"We've continued to invest here in Charles Town and have discovered that West Virginia is great place to do business," said Peter Carlino, chairman and CEO of Penn National Gaming.
Since taking over the track and adding 5,000 slot machines, Charles Town Races & Slots has generated more than $1.6 billion in taxes and purses, said Carlino, including $976 million to the state's general fund, $260 million in purses and $51 million for Jefferson County and local governments.