(02/17/2007)
The House of Delegates approved by a 55-21 vote yesterday the use of backjack, roulette and other table games at West Virginia racetracks.

Calhoun's delegate Bill Stemple voted for the gambling expansion.

Gambling money is one of the state's biggest tax producers.

The bill will go on to the Senate where gambling foes will have another chance to derail it.

The racetracks are hoping to persuade senators to reduce its 35 percent tax on game proceeds and its multi-million-dollar annual license fees.

If the bill passes, the four racetrack counties - Hancock, Jefferson, Kanawha and Ohio - will vote on permitting table games.

Supporters say that table games will bring more and better-paying jobs to the tracks.

They also believe the bill's passage would help preserve the jobs and revenues linked to the thousands of video lottery machines that the tracks already have installed.


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