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Blackjack Dealers Become Rich As Poor Towns Benefit From Legal Casinos

Apr 2, 2011

casinos bring new life into town
Blackjack Helps Towns

The introduction of legal casino table games including blackjack to a rural West Virginia county generated wealth for the unemployed and enriched tax coffers.

West Virginia is slowly beginning to change its undeserved reputation of a state populated primarily by banjo playing illiterate yokels, violent coal-miners and ‘kissing cousins’ – with hardly a dentist in sight, and with the highest number of moonshine stills per capita.

The introduction of legalized gambling is brining local counties, previously unheard-of revenue surpluses, high paying jobs and tourism. Charles Town, located in rural Jefferson County, is a small community of just 2700 residents.

The town used to be famous for its dilapidated 1930’s Charles Town Racetrack, and for having more fiddle repair shops than any other town in the world (18 shops according to one report, averaging out to 1 fiddle repair shop for every 150 residents.)

As of July 2, 2010 local voters approved the addition of table casino games and an addition of a luxury hotel to the now fixed up race track, transforming it into a smart 1930’s Art Deco style casino-hotel racetrack complex. The casino offers various blackjack card games, slots, baccarat, craps, roulette and even a poker room with 27 tables of various limits.

The racetrack, newly renamed Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races has become a major tourist attraction, employing 470 poker, craps, baccarat and blackjack dealers. In addition the casino employs another 1400 county residents as support staff that every casino needs – from security to cleaning personnel; from restaurant staff to masseuses and landscapers.

Casino General Manger, Mr. Al Britton, explains that besides the hundreds of jobs, multiple successful local businesses have sprung up, including tour guides and souvenir shops.

The 470 casino dealers are each earning over $60,000 yearly, not including benefits. In a state where 20% of children live below the poverty line and with an average per capita income of less than $18,000 yearly, most dealers are well off.

One blackjack dealer tells his story filled with woes prior to becoming a BlackJack dealer and saving enough money in six months to lease a new luxury SUV and put a down payment on a house.

Legalization of casino table games has literally improved the lives of thousands of people throughout the state. In just the first six month of operation, the casino grossed $60 million in revenues, out of which $20 million was paid in state and local taxes.

The 2010 US Census shows that Jefferson County has only 55,000 residents. The county’s coffers are bursting with cash – $5.6 million in just 6 months from casino tax revenues alone.

The county, clearly winning at blackjack without even playing has decided to spend $1.7 million to bring the school district into the 21st (or maybe the 20th) century; $1.2 million went to five municipalities which compose the country; $1.5 million went for future winning purses at the shiny and restored race track to attract the interest of international punters; and the final $1.2 million was invested into a ‘horse breeders fund’.

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