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Greenbrier Resort's Casino Nets $891K in Seven Weeks; The State of
 West Virginia Happy Too... Its Net is $564K

By Eric Eyre, The Charleston Gazette, W.Va.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

August  25, 2010 --CHARLESTON, W.Va.-- The Greenbrier resort has netted more than $891,400 in gambling revenue since opening its underground casino on July 2, according to West Virginia Lottery Commission reports.

Last week alone, the resort's table games -- played at the new 102,000-square-foot Casino Club -- generated $377,661 in revenue, the bulk coming from The Greenbrier's 21 blackjack tables.

On Tuesday, a resort executive said the amount of money Greenbrier gamblers have spent in the casino has climbed rapidly since opening day.

"We're seeing a lot of improvement," said Todd Fishon, director of casino operations. "The casino is doing great."

The Greenbrier's table games revenue has fluctuated sharply from week to week since the July opening

In fact, the White Sulphur Springs resort lost money -- gamblers' winnings exceeded losses -- at table games during two weeks in July. Table games revenues rebounded this month.

"In July, we had a lot of people come in and win," Fishon said. "In August, it's been the other way around."

The resort has made more than $694,000 from table games since the Casino Club opened.

Meanwhile, revenue from The Greenbrier's 320 video slot machines has held steady, according to Lottery reports. The resort made $196,692 from its video poker terminals since July. Slot revenue reached a one-week high of $32,151 last week.

The resort gets to keep 65 percent of its table games gross receipts. The remainder goes to the state, a hotel employee benefit fund and a capital investment fund. The Greenbrier keeps 42.3 percent of video poker receipts.

The $891,400 seven-week revenue total represents the resort's share of gambling receipts. The state's share amounted to $564,655 -- most of which goes to the state's general revenue and debt reduction funds.

The Greenbrier started offering table games and video slots at the 3,700-square-foot Tavern Casino in October 2009.

The small-scale, temporary casino generated $1.8 million in revenue from October through June 30. The Tavern Casino closed when the underground casino opened, but the smaller facility remains available for gambling during private events.

The Casino Club offers blackjack, roulette, baccarat, craps, three-card and Texas hold 'em poker. The "Monte Carlo-style" casino also has a private "Greenbrier Royale" room for high rollers.

At night, the Casino Club's dress code requires that men wear jackets. There's also a champagne toast and dance performance.

"Our concept has been well received," Fishon said. "People have taken to the elegant theme. They say it's something special."

Greenbrier owner Jim Justice, who brought the resort out of bankruptcy in May 2009, has said gambling will help restore profitability to the resort and help it regain the coveted five-star Mobil Travel Guide rating The Greenbrier lost in 2000 and has been fighting to recover since.

The resort's casino patrons are limited to hotel guests and members of The Greenbrier Sporting Club's luxury home development. People registered for events at the resort also are allowed to gamble, provided 400 rooms are occupied at the time.

The state Lottery approved The Greenbrier's gambling license in 2009.

"We really think that this is on par or better than any other offering in the country for a casino," Fishon said. "We expect continued growth in casino revenue."

Reach Eric Eyre at ericeyre@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4869.

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To see more of The Charleston Gazette, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.wvgazette.com.

Copyright (c) 2010, The Charleston Gazette, W.Va.

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