Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A reminder of riverboat gambling heading downriver

Remember a hundred years ago – or was it only twenty – that riverboat gambling was the next big thing in tourism? Here in West Virginia, legislators argued for a while over whether the state should approve riverboat casino gambling as a possible new revenue source. While West Virginia argued, other states acted.

One of those was Indiana. It got a leg up in the gambling arms race, which never ends. Other states got in on the act, too, and soon enough West Virginia lost its excursion boat West Virginia  Belle to Missouri, where it was converted into a casino.

Soon enough, though, riverboat casinos were replaced by on-shore casinos. Now a relic of the riverboat gambling days is about to leave the Ohio. News reports say the casino boat at Lawrenceburg, Ind., which was replaced by a casino barge a few years ago, is about to depart for the New Orleans area or perhaps below. Is it following towboats to the Rio Parana in Argentina? No one is saying.

Now, about the gambling arms race: The West Virginia Lottery is looking ahead to the possibility that sports betting might become legal in its state. According to my former coworker Jim Workman, legislation has been introduced to allow some sports betting legally.

If West Virginia legalizes sports betting, other states will follow. It's how things work.

No comments: