West Virginia Governor Jim Justice is looking to increase state tourism funding by $14 million in this year’s budget. Former state senator Ed Gaunch told the Senate Finance Committee this week about Justice’s proposed investment.
Of course, the goal of this funding would be to generate revenue by attracting more visitors to the Mountain State. More tourists would benefit just about every business in WV, especially those looking to entertain people, like the West Virginia sports betting and casino industry.
Justice tried gathering this $14 million a year ago. Unfortunately, it was shut down by the legislature. The Tourism Division was instead granted only $2.5 million.
The proposal would be looking to use the majority of the funds for “brand promotion.” About $10 million would go toward television, radio and print advertising.
If approved, this could be essential to the business of the five WV land-based casinos. More specifically, the casinos that are closest to other major cities around the region, like the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races.
West Virginia sports betting a big attraction
Since West Virginia legalized sports betting, the state has seen residents from neighboring states make their way across the border to place a wager. Justice wants to highlight some of the other landmarks to keep people flowing into the Mountain State.
According to the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Tourism Commissioner Chelsea Ruby, said, “Nobody gives us a discount for being a smaller state with a smaller budget. Nobody says, ‘I want to go to West Virginia, even though I’ve only seen one ad from them.’”
When trying to earn business, states have to show why they’re the exciting option. Having entertainment, legalized gaming, and online sports betting provides tourists with even more reasons to come. They just need to be aware that it all exists.
West Virginia casino effect
The most obvious effect this may have is on the casinos within the state. Sure, residents of WV will go and gamble on the weekends or during special events. Tourists, however, are the ones who will visit casinos regularly while in town.
Not only does WV have multiple casinos located all over the state, they each can provide the ability to wager on sports. Neighboring states like Virginia and Maryland cannot say the same.
Millions of people in these cities have nowhere to legally bet on sports. WV casinos are just the answer.
The Hollywood Casino is basically within an hour’s drive of both Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland.
The Mountaineer Casino in New Cumberland is another example. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is just 45 miles east and there are only a few sports betting options in Western PA. It would not be surprising to find people from the Keystone State work their way down to WV, too.
Even the residents near Columbus, Ohio, may be intrigued by what WV can offer. The Mardi Gras Casino in Cross Lanes, WV, is within range for those around the Ohio capital interested in gambling on sports.
An increase in tourism funding can draw more visitors to the state. While it may be tough to see the immediate results, this proposal can definitely benefit WV casinos and sports betting.