Casino Experts Pessimistic about Lawrence Downs Project

Casino experts believe that the Lawrence Downs Casino and Racing Resort might not be launched after all, as the state gambling market is already oversaturated with venues of this kind.

It seems that the decade-long project has recently faced yet another setback – the partners working on the establishment of the multimillion property are now involved in a legal battle against each other.

However, Dan Vogler, chairman of the Lawrence County commission that had previously promised to contribute $50 million to the project, noted he believed the county will eventually have its gambling venue.

Yet, casino experts from neighboring states are not that optimistic, as according to them, the Pennsylvania gambling market is oversaturated with facilities of this kind. As many as four casinos have opened doors in the state since 2007.

Alan Silver, professor at the Ohio University, claimed that the Lawrence Downs venture is not likely to be a profitable one. Ohio, one of Pennsylvania’s neighboring states, currently has four casinos and seven racinos, including one in Austintown, managed by Penn National Gaming. The venue in question monthly generates revenue of about $7 million.

According to Professor Silver the figures reported do not meet the operator’s expectations and this is probably one of the reasons it decided to drop out of the Lawrence Downs project.

Last week, Penn National officials asked a judge to approve their intention to quit the partnership with Endeka Entertainment for the construction of the $225-million gambling venue. Furthermore, the Berks County-based operator stated that it would like to be awarded $150 million, which it claimed to have spent in order to keep the project going.

Endeka Entertainment, too, filed a suit against its onetime partner, accusing it of committing fraud in order to protect its Hollywood Gaming property at Mahoning Valley Race Course, located near Youngstown, Ohio or only 25 miles away from the proposed site for the Lawrence County project.

Endeka Entertainment officials claimed that they had decided to partner with Penn Nation, in order to secure the necessary casino license from the state gambling regulator. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has been reviewing the license application for more than two years now. And according to Endeka Entertainment, it will probably be rejected.

Yet, William Pietragallo, an attorney for the company, stated that the project should not to be considered officially dead.

If completed, the proposed Lawrence Downs Casino and Racing Resort will feature 1,250 slot machines, 50 gaming tables, horse racing, and other gambling options.

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