News and Notes

Charles Town races and slots to change name

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. -- The owners of Charles Town Races and Slots hope to bring some of the glitter and glamour of Tinseltown to West Virginia with an expanded casino, a new name, and a fancy club and restaurant.

The gambling house, owned by Penn National Gaming, will be renamed Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races and refurbished with table games, movie screens and art deco stylings reminiscent of post-Depression America.

"The most important thing about the name change is what it portrays, and that's entertainment," General Manager Al Britton said.

Starting in July, the Hollywood Casino will feature nine table game areas, including a nonsmoking, high roller and party pit on the casino floor, Britton said.

Gamblers will be able to try their luck at blackjack, craps, roulette, mini-baccarat and pai gow poker, Britton said. A 27-table poker area is slated to open later in the year.

The casino has 5,000 slot machines in place, Britton said.

Roughly 88,000 customers from Frederick County visited Charles Town Races and Slots over the past year, Britton said.

The average customer to the casino spends about $100, he said.

Visitors and patrons entering from the revamped valet entrance will be greeted by a panoramic serpentine video screen, 20 feet tall and 150 feet wide, projecting the latest movie trailers and video shorts, a casino news release states.

More plasma and video screens will be added throughout the casino broadcasting sporting and other programming, the release states.

A two-story lounge called Hollywood on the Roof will feature an island bar, a performing stage and 350 seats, casino representatives said.

A steakhouse dubbed The Final Cut is also on the menu for the expansion, as well as a noodle bar in the casino food court.

The casino plans to hire about 400 certified table game dealers, about 70 percent of whom will come from West Virginia, on top of its current staff of roughly 1,200, Britton said.

Operators hope the changes will help prepare the business to better compete.

"We need table games and other amenities to differentiate ourselves and to separate ourselves from the competition," he said.