RANSON, W.Va. (AP) — As competition increases from Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland, West Virginia casinos are losing customers.
And the lost revenue is poking a hole in the state's tax base and budget.
Nowhere is that better exemplified than at Charles Town. When they first opened, business boomed beyond expectations, and tax revenue flowed into the state's coffers.
West Virginia's two panhandles were situated to draw out-of-state dollars — the Northern Panhandle drew gamblers from Pennsylvania and Ohio, while the Eastern Panhandle, where Charles Town is located, drew bettors from Maryland, Virginia and the D.C. region.
Pennsylvania's foray into casino gambling weakened the northern casinos in Wheeling and Mountaineer Park, but Charles Town continued for a number of years to keep its monopoly on the D.C. market.
That changed when Maryland legalized casino gambling.