New Castle News

Hot Topics

July 28, 2013

Track developers in compliance for license

NEW CASTLE — The Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission Friday gave Endeka Entertainment more time to find a horsemen’s association.

In October, the commission transferred the license to operate a racetrack in Lawrence County to the Philadelphia-based developers, setting six conditions to be met.

To date, Endeka has met five of the six, but it has not yet obtained a signed agreement with a horsemen’s organization, such as the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association, based in the Poconos, or the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association, based in Washington, Pa.

Endeka officials Friday asked for an exception. They said they understand that such an agreement is needed prior to the beginning of racing of horses, but said the condition “is not statutory,” and that it is premature at this time because the proposed racetrack — to be known as Lawrence Downs Casino and Racing Resort — will not open any time soon.

Endeka said an agreement will be in hand before the track opens.

Attorney Jorge Augusto of the commission agreed it is premature at this time and the three commission members approved it.

This, Augusto announced, brings the developers into full compliance with conditions set last year. They included providing documentation confirming a financial commitment that at least $170 million is available to construct a racing facility, submitting an application for a casino license to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, furnishing a management agreement to operate the facility, providing proof that all zoning and permits for the project have been obtained, and committing to at least 30 days of live racing in the first year of operation.

Lawrence County Commissioner Dan Vogler, who attended the meeting Friday at The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Washington County, said this is another positive step toward the eventual opening of Lawrence Downs, to be located at Route 422 and Baird Road in Mahoning Township.

Accompanying Vogler Friday were Commissioner Robert Del Signore and Tom Leslie, county solicitor.

Although Endeka was represented at Friday’s meeting by consultant Anton Leppler, no one commented on behalf of the development at the meeting.

Endeka, now in partnership with Penn National Gaming, has announced a commitment to operate a harness racetrack/casino containing approximately 1,250 slot machines at opening, 40 live table games and 10 poker tables. It also is expected to include a variety of food and beverage options and parking for 2,000 vehicles.

Penn National, who will develop and manage the project, also will operate a thoroughbred racetrack in Austintown, Ohio.

This week, Pennsylvania-based Penn National announced plans to scale back the number of video lottery terminals to be offered next year when the Austintown facility opens. Initial plans had been to open with 1,500 terminals, which are similar to slot machines.

The cutbacks were announced in response to Penn National realizing lower than anticipated earnings from gaming sources, in the competitive Ohio market.

Penn National chairman and chief executive officer Peter Carlino said anticipated first-year revenues have not been realized in the Columbus market.

Tim Wilmott, president and chief operating officer for Penn National, said the scale back at Austintown is an effort to open conservatively and allow the market to determine if any more machines are needed.

Penn National operates two of the four Las Vegas-style casinos in Ohio, in Toledo and Columbus. Other casinos are located in Cleveland and Cincinnati.


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Hot Topics
  • Bobosky.jpg Gas holdouts unconvinced of safety

    When Suzanne Matteo and her husband, Martin, bought their house on four acres in Pulaski Township they had a plan. They would grow a huge vegetable garden, raise lots of flowers and a few chickens and enjoy the fresh air and quiet.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • gavel.jpg Anti fracking group waits for answer to its letter

    More than 20 state environmental groups are asking that March 25 and 26 hearings on proposed “forced pooling” be postponed. They say more time is necessary to allow members of the public to voice their opinions.

    March 18, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • Hilcorp_Energy.jpg Hilcorp seeks to force drilling on reluctant landowners

    A hearing has been set on a request to force local landowners to allow gas and oil drilling. Hilcorp Corp., a Texas firm with multiple well pads in the area, is asking for the so-called “forced pooling.”

    March 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • brown.jpg Boy’s murder case goes to Pennsylvania high court

    The Pennsylvania Supreme Court must decide if a Pennsylvania teen should get a new trial in the death of his father’s pregnant fiancée, who was fatally shot with a youth-model shotgun when he was 11.

    March 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Casino.jpg Casino hearing date now official

    May 8 has been confirmed as the public hearing date for Lawrence Downs Casino and Racing Resort. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will hear from those who wish to comment on the casino license under consideration for the racetrack/casino complex planned for Mahoning Township.

    March 12, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Agreement to enhance Austintown track project

    Penn National Gaming announced Monday it has signed a key agreement regarding its Austintown race track and casino. The thoroughbred racing track, part of a facility that will include slots-like gambling machines, is scheduled to open in the fall, and the new agreement with the Ohio Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association is being touted as “positive progress” in meeting that deadline.

    March 11, 2014

  • Vogler.jpg Public hearing for casino could be in spring

    The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board could turn its focus to Lawrence Downs Casino and Racing Resort this spring. Lawrence County Commissioner Dan Vogler, who attended the board’s meeting in Harrisburg this week, said he and staff members informally discussed a timetable for the upcoming public hearing on the gaming application submitted by Endeka Entertainment.

    March 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • brown.jpg Our Opinion: After five years, Jordan Brown case continues — sadly for all

    It’s not unusual for newspapers to look back on major news events when key anniversaries come about. So it was that the New Castle News has been running articles on the fifth anniversary of the 2009 slaying of Kenzie Houk, and the subsequent arrest of Jordan Brown for the crime.

    February 25, 2014 1 Photo 9 Stories

  • Elisco.jpg Jordan Brown Case, Five Years Later: Defense attorney learns ‘to expect the unexpected’

    On the morning of Feb. 21, 2009, attorney Dennis Elisco met a boy who changed his life. Thursday marked the five-year anniversary in the case of 16-year-old Jordan Brown.

    February 24, 2014 1 Photo 8 Stories

  • Jordan Brown Case, Five Years Later: After half a decade, intrigue and questions remain

    Unusual aspects of Jordan Brown’s case drew national and international attention. Now 16, Jordan was 11 when he was charged as an adult with two counts of homicide in the fatal shooting of his father’s pregnant fiancée, Kenzie Marie Houk, 26.

    February 24, 2014

House Ads

Beginning tonight, the Pittsburgh Penguins will take on the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the NHL playoffs. So, who ya got? And in how many games?

Penguins, in five games or fewer. Too much firepower for the Blue Jackets, especially if Evgeni Malkin is ready to go.
Penguins, in six or seven games. It’s a pretty even matchup on defense, but Pittsburgh will grind it out.
Blue Jackets, in five games or fewer. Sergei Bobrovsky in goal for the Blue Jackets spells trouble for the Pens.
Blue Jackets, in six or seven games. Bobrovsky gives Columbus the edge, but it won’t be easy.
     View Results