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August 17, 2013

Track plans made public; some information hidden

NEW CASTLE — Plans and partnerships for Lawrence Downs Casino and Racetrack Resort have been made public.

The application — redacted in some places —was posted Thursday on the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board website.

Review and approval of the plan — submitted May 31 by Endeka Entertainment and Penn National Gaming Inc., which will build and manage the facility — could take nine months to a year, gaming board officials have said.

The application spells out what Endeka Entertainment and its affiliates plan to do in developing a $160 million harness racetrack/casino complex in Mahoning Township.

The organization, a partnership of Philadelphia-based investors, was formed in spring 2012 to accept the assets of American Harness Tracks, which held the racing license. Endeka Entertainment was organized for the purpose of obtaining a harness racing license and slot machine license to operate a licensed facility in Pennsylvania.

On the Endeka Entertainment application, a box was checked acknowledging that a principal or key employee had been “charged with or convicted of a criminal offense, been a party to or named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a criminal proceeding.” Also checked was a box indicating the applicant or an affiliate, intermediary, subsidiary or holding company had a judgment order, consent decree or consent order that resulted in a fine or penalty of $50,000 or more.

Sections of the application that might have explained this are redacted.

Also redacted are responses involving bribes, kickbacks or payments to a person or organization to obtain favorable treatment and loans or contributions to government officials, political parties or candidates, formed a political action committee or maintained numbered or “off the books” bank accounts.

The Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission granted the racing license for harness racing and pari-mutuel wagering July 12, 2012. Endeka is partnering with Penn National Gaming, which will construct the facility and consult on management of the operation.

Developers also plan to provide a facility with:

•1,250 slot machines

•41 table games

•10 poker games

•220 to 240 restaurant seats.

•Parking for 2,000 vehicles

The developers’ plan indicates they intend to widen Route 422 to include turning lanes, realign Baird Road to improve access and create about 1,400 temporary and construction jobs.

Developers estimate that within five years of opening, the complex could bring an estimated 2.9 million visitors and $131 million per year into the community, drawing most patrons from western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio.

Primary partners in Endeka Entertainment Limited Partnership, as of May 31, are Manuel N. Stamatakis, Peter DePaul, Edward Snider, Thomas Leonard and the Melissa Silver Trust.

Most of them are also owners, partners or hold beneficial interest positions in affiliate organizations that also are required to be licensed.

Pittsburgh-based American Harness Tracks had purchased assets of Valley View Downs and has a 10 percent interest in Endeka..

American Harness investors include Charles Long, Charles Nannicola, Frank Nannicola, Armand Nannicola, James Carna, Edward Long, Christine Biros, A. William Price, Steven Lewis and Penn National Gaming Inc., a minority partner.

Endeka’s application is available on the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board website http://gamingcontrolboard.pa.gov/?p=234.

(Email: nlowry@ncnewsonline.com)

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