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Jefferson Co. residents offer mixed opinions on table games

November 30, 2009|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

o Jefferson Co. residents to vote on table games

o Lawmaker changes stand on table games

o Measuring impact part of table games equation

o Racetrack officials: Table games would bring jobs to Jefferson County

o Effects of table games on horsemen debated

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -- The question of whether voters should approve table games at Charles Town Races and Slots during Saturday's referendum drew mixed answers from 10 people who were asked their opinions of the issue on several different days last week.

Among those opposed to the games, which would include poker, blackjack, roulette and craps, was Michael Curtin, 60, of Bakerton, W.Va.

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Curtin said he opposes gambling in general.

"I view gambling as a tax on the poor. I don't like it. It's an addiction," Curtin said.

Keith Fridley, 53, of Bolivar, W.Va., said he thinks table games are needed in Jefferson County.

"This county has prospered real well (with the revenue from slot machines)," Fridley said. "I'm worried that if we don't get table games, we'll have more of a problem than if we do get them."

Sharon Garvey, 55, of Harpers Ferry, W.Va., expressed concern that the government is beginning to depend too heavily on gambling revenues for the activities it needs to support.

"We're going down that path wholeheartedly," she said. "It's undermining our civic duty. Moreover, there's more harm in it. Some will suffer enormous hurt. The good we receive from it comes off the backs of a lot of people."

Brenda Marshall, 56, of Shepherdstown, W.Va., said she is very much in favor of the games.

"We have one of the largest casinos in the country and no table games. They would give us some competition with the surrounding states," she said.

"Table games ... They're just another way of separating old-age pensioners from their money," said Abby Northrop, 59, of Shepherdstown.

Rick Garland, 51, a Harpers Ferry businessman, said he hopes the games will be approved.

"It's good for the community because they'll bring in more people. The more who come here, the more will visit other businesses," he said.

Stan Jones, 71, of Shepherdstown, said he thinks the money that CTRS spreads around the county in donations is merely a ploy.

"I think the county and charitable enterprises around here get a pittance from them," Jones said. "The only purpose of their giving is to keep us quiet while they make money. It's sad. We ought to find a better way to pay for the services we need than by taking it out of the pockets of those who can't afford it."

Anders Henriksson of Harpers Ferry said he thinks table games would benefit the county, noting, "The revenue is good for the services the county can provide and it's good for the local economy."

At first, Tonya Newlin was on the fence. 

"Yes. No. But you can't have 'yes' and 'no,'" said Newlin, of Charles Town, W.Va. "I guess I'm going to say 'no.'"

Diana Penrod, 63, of Shenandoah Junction, W.Va., said she opposes the games for one reason.

"I'm opposed to gambling in any shape or form. It destroys people's lives," she said.

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