Club owners in West Virginia aren't ready to throw in the towel on gray machines yet, according to Chris Wakim of the Club Association of West Virginia.
Wakim, who owns two taverns in Wheeling, says that group has consulted attorneys on the constitutionality of a new law that would legalize and tax video poker gambling effective Jan. 1.
While this organization representing clubs has the right to look into a possible challenge to the law, we think it is basically a moot point. Whether club owners like it or not, the state is now going to get its "share of the pie" from video poker machine revenue.
And like Bill Case, spokesman for Gov. Bob Wise, we think the law can withstand any challenges that arise. This, despite certain problems that are sure to crop up with the implementation of the law -- such as the distribution of the machines.
We think it's time for club owners to fold their hand and prepare to obey the new state law come January. Challenging the law, in our view, will only serve to delay a measure that's certain to be swiftly and strictly enforced if any legal action fails.
Illegal payouts eventually will cease and the state will get its cut of future monies from video poker machines. Club owners can bank on it.
-- Patrick Martin
Exponent editorial board member