Owner says Greenbrier didn't try to bend law
BECKLEY -- The Greenbrier ordered a stop to third-party advertising of bus trips to the resort's casino after learning about the practice, owner Jim Justice said.
Lottery Director John Musgrave told the Lottery Commission this week the White Sulphur Springs resort has complied with an order to stop busing gamblers to the casino. He said day trips promoted by charter bus companies are beyond the scope of the law that authorized the casino.
Justice said The Greenbrier was unaware about the advertising until it was brought to the resort's attention.
"There were third parties that were advertising on their Web sites and stuff, and we didn't know that. Like a bus company. Which was in violation," Justice said. "The very second that it was brought to our attention, we stopped it. Right that second."
Justice told The Register-Herald that any notion The Greenbrier is violating or trying to circumvent the law "is completely wrong."
He added, "don't beat me up and make me look like a bad guy here. I'm the guy that wants nothing but good for our state."
The 1999 law that allowed The Greenbrier to build the casino also restricted access to registered overnight hotel guests or members of the Greenbrier Sporting Club. Legislation approved in 2009 granted an exception for registered participants at a convention or event at the resort, if at least 400 rooms are booked.
In September, the commission updated its rules to clarify that the Greenbrier Classic PGA golf tour is such an event. At its Nov. 27 meeting, the commission plans to clarify the definition of "event" again.
Any event that allows visitors to have casino access, including bus groups, must have the Lottery Commission's prior approval, Justice said. The commission has seven investigators and an auditor who sign off on the required forms for such events.
"And they absolutely did," Justice said. "They approved every single event.
"There is absolutely nobody that is entering that casino that is not approved by the Lottery Commission. Now, there may be somebody that's crawling in under the carpet and getting in somehow like that. But we don't want it any other way. That's the thing that just really drives me crazy about the whole thing."