PA Approves First Gaming Licenses
3 Facilities Expected to Begin Slots Operations Within Months
HARRISBURG: The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board today unanimously approved five applications for slot-machine gaming operator licenses, the first such licenses awarded under the Race Horse Development and Gaming Act of 2004.
The five licenses are all associated with horse-racing tracks that are operating or are under construction across the Commonwealth. Three of the entities approved today have indicated that they expect to begin gaming operations sometime between October 2006 and January 2007.
“September 27, 2006, is an historic day for the people of Pennsylvania,” said Tad Decker, Chairman of the Gaming Control Board. “Now that these licenses have been approved, Pennsylvanians will soon begin to enjoy the benefits envisioned by the Governor and the Legislature when Act 71 became law in 2004: lower property taxes, new jobs and a reinvigorated horse-racing industry.”
In separate and unanimous votes, the Gaming Control Board approved licenses for:
• Chester Downs and Marina LLC (Chester Downs, Delaware County)
• Downs Racing LP (Pocono Downs, Luzerne County)
• Greenwood Gaming and Entertainment Inc. (Philadelphia Park, Bucks County)
• Mountainview Thoroughbred Racing Association (Penn National, Dauphin County)
• Washington Trotting Association Inc. (The Meadows, Washington County)
A vote on a sixth applicant for a Conditional Category 1 license, Presque Isle Downs Inc. (Presque Isle Downs, Erie County), was delayed so Board members could have adequate time to review testimony and personal notes taken at that applicant’s Suitability Hearing held earlier today. In addition, further investigation is required.
Applicants whose licenses were approved today cannot receive a gaming license and begin gaming operations until they meet a series of conditions set by the Gaming Control Board to ensure that the requirements of Act 71, as well as Board rules and regulations, are met.
Under Act 71, the Gaming Control Board is authorized to award 14 slot-machine gaming licenses to facilities across Pennsylvania. Seven Category 1 licenses are authorized for horse-race tracks; five Category 2 licenses are authorized for standalone slots facilities - two in Philadelphia, one in Pittsburgh and two at tourism-enhanced locations across the state; and two Category 3 licenses are authorized for existing resorts.
The licenses awarded today are all conditional Category 1 licenses. Under Act 71, the Board must also approve permanent licenses for the entities approved today. The Gaming Control Board expects to act on 21 permanent applications for 13 gaming licenses in December 2006, Chairman Decker said.
In another action, the Board voted unanimously to approve a license for Power Gaming, LLC to be a supplier of slot machines and associated equipment in the Commonwealth.