WV Senate committee votes to lower casinos annual fees - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

WV Senate committee votes to lower casinos annual fees

Posted: Updated:
  • GovernmentGovernmentMore>>

  • WV Senate race firing up thanks to 'war on coal'

    WV Senate race firing up thanks to 'war on coal'

    Monday, July 28 2014 2:29 PM EDT2014-07-28 18:29:34 GMT
    The race for West Virginia representation in the U.S. Senate is firing up, in more ways than one. In the first television advertisement released for the West Virginia Senate race, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant shuts off power to the White House.
    The race for West Virginia representation in the U.S. Senate is firing up, in more ways than one. In the first television advertisement released for the West Virginia Senate race, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant shuts off power to the White House.
  • Rep. Nick Rahall addresses need for Congress to 'act' on VA legislation

    Rep. Nick Rahall addresses need for Congress to 'act' on VA legislation

    Monday, July 28 2014 8:27 AM EDT2014-07-28 12:27:49 GMT
    U.S. Rep.Nick J. Rahall, D-W.Va., said July 25 on the House floor leaders needed to come together and act to complete legislation that addresses shortfalls within the Department of Veterans Affairs.
    U.S. Rep.Nick J. Rahall, D-W.Va., said July 25 on the House floor leaders needed to come together and act to complete legislation that addresses shortfalls within the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • West Virginia sees high rates of health insurance coverage

    West Virginia sees high rates of health insurance coverage

    Saturday, July 26 2014 10:00 AM EDT2014-07-26 14:00:27 GMT
    A new report done by Wallet Hub, a company whose motto is to focus on “financial decisions and saving money,” found only 6 percent of West Virginians do not have health insurance coverage.
    A new report done by Wallet Hub, a company whose motto is to focus on “financial decisions and saving money,” found only 6 percent of West Virginians do not have health insurance coverage.

Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, is keeping a close eye on Senate Bill 615.

He's the lone sponsor of the bill, which would change the way table game license renewal fees for the state's four racetracks are paid.

The current licensing fee for table games is $2.5 million, and the bill would drop that to $1.5 million per year.

The measure was amended in the Senate Judiciary Committee before it was passed March 28, and its next stop is the Senate Finance Committee.

"The bill I introduced would've taken $3 million out of the purse fund, which is basically fed by table games and slot machines to build the fund," Kessler said.

Sen. Herb Snyder, D-Jefferson, amended the bill in the judiciary committee so money for senior programs would be recovered by cutting that state subsidy that has helped casinos purchase new slot machines. The state currently pays for 50 percent of the costs of new slot machines, but the amended bill would require the state to only pay for 25 percent. Those fees currently are used to fund state senior programs.

"It was amended, as I understood, they took out of the fund we created a few years ago to help refurbish the machines to have a pool available on a 50 percent match so they could upgrade machines to stay competitive," Kessler said. "My goal is to not take any money from the senior programs, and I will not support nor pass, hopefully, any bill that would take money out of those desperately needed programs for seniors."

Kessler has said he is concerned that Wheeling Island Casino is struggling with its license renewal because of declining table game revenues. He said his original plan was to take $6 million from the purse fund, but his bill trimmed that back to $3 million.