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Former Mountaineer executive Ted Arneault joins start-up gambling firm

WHEELING — Gaming executive Ted Arneault has joined a start-up company’s efforts aimed at bringing gambling — and additional revenue — to West Virginia’s bars and restaurants.

Officials with PropMe has announced they and Arneault have finalized a partnership that brings him on as a partner to provide advisory services for PropMe’s licensing and financing efforts.

PropMe has plans to bring gambling in the form of wagering to bars and restaurants in the state. Their games wouldn’t be limited to just sports wagering, but would involve “pick ’em” type contests and questions.

PropMe is presently seeking a license to operate in West Virginia, and its partnership with Arneault should provide both needed clout and capital, according to David Ealy, creator and co-founder of PropMeLLC. The current coronavirus pandemic caused delays in the company’s licensing pursuits, he said.

“Really, we are recovering from COVID-19,” Ealy said. “What it did was give us the opportunity to meet with Ted Arneault. He was interested for a number of reasons, and the break actually gave us a chance to introduce ourselves and meet with him.

“We came to an agreement to bring him on board for cash and equity play in PropMe, so he will be on our team.”

Ealy said Arneault’s role will be to raise significant cash needed by PropMe.

“The not-so-subtle implication is Ted raised $450 million for his bid for Mountaineer (Racetrack and Gaming Resort in Hancock County),” he said. “It gives us immediate access to Ted’s investment banking network.

“Those people who are considering working with us to get licensing can be rest assured that we will have access to capital. We will be able to expand and grow.”

Arneault also has a wealth of experience in the gambling industry, according to Ealy.

“Ted has navigated these waters for over 25 years. His official title is going to be adviser — he is going to be on the advisory board. His primary responsibility will be helping us with the financing and plugging us in to his investment banking network. His second role will be strategic stuff on the board. It will be a great fit for him, based on his experience.”

The down time resulting from the coronavirus pandemic also forced PropMe to refocus its business plan, Ealy said.

Instead of working with more than 1,200 individual bars and restaurants in the state, it has struck a relationship with the West Virginia Amusement & Limited Video Lottery Association — a trade group of which many of the businesses are a member.

“We’re just like any other vendor. We just want a license,” Ealy said. “We’re changing our focus from signing up restaurants to working with the LVL association and allying ourselves with them, rather than going to them individually.

“Our initial (plan) to work with the bars and restaurants was so we could get users and share revenue with them. That is still in play. We’re just going to reframe that.”

Financial agreements with the bars and restaurants will be framed through the LVL association, he explained.

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