It’s the newest excitement coming to our area and it’s only an hour from the Beltway.
Starting in early July, 12 different table games, including poker, blackjack and craps, will come to the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races and Slots in West Virginia. There’s still plenty of work left to be done before opening day, but when it's finished, the casino will be open 24 hours seven days a week.
"I don’t play table games because I’m too chicken, but I think it will draw a lot more people," said slots player Debra Fairbanks.
With a 1930s Hollywood theme, the new attraction also creates almost 500 jobs, including 400 for dealers.
"With the way the economy is now, I guess we end up anywhere they say they’re hiring," said dealer-in-training Tanisha Gates.
Like many at the 16-week dealer school, Gates has been out of work for months. In a short period, she and others new to casino work are being taught the ropes.
Jamie Ferrell, 24, can’t find work as a graphic designer, so she’s learning to be a craps dealer.
"There’s bets inside of bets," Ferrell said. “All kinds of odds -- seven to six, seven to five, nine to five, three to two, It’s fun.”
Right now, with just slot machines and horse racing, the casino said the majority of their business comes from customers in the D.C. area, but with table games coming, the casino hopes to fill seats with new players who typically make the long trip to Atlantic City.
“We’ll be a more convenient option for those folks,” said Casino General Manager Al Britton. “I’m not saying they won’t make any trips up to Atlantic City, but we think they’ll make fewer trips because why spend that extra two-and-a-half hours in the car when you can come here.”
And for people who have never been to a casino?
“I would tell everybody come down, have fun, try it out,” said Gates. “And spend some money at my table, absolutely.”
New dealers will make about $45,000 a year, including tips, the casino said.