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Valley View Downs Receives Last Pennsylvania Harness Racing License

On September 5th, 2007, the last harness racing license in Pennsylvania was given to a business organization that plans to construct a racing track near Ohio, making it the top choice to eventually receive a slots license.

The Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission decided in a two to zero vote to give a license to the Valley View Downs LLP for a location in Lawrence County. Officials of Valley View said that they plan to buy the lot from another organization that had been its primary competitor in getting a harness track license.

The parent company of Valley View, Centaur Incorporated shelved a plan that has been previously dismissed by the commission to construct in Beaver County. The company will pay $75 million for 250 acres of land and stock in Bedford Downs Management Corporation. Centaur plans to spend $420 million to construct the Harness facility and expect gross profits to surpassed $400 million by 2010.

The company also expects to entertain 14,000 customers everyday and hire 1,000 full time and part-time employees and make 1,200 indirect jobs. Gaming officials could change the 7th slots license that is allotted for the racing tracks to stand alone casino facilities if no harness racing track applied for the license by July 2009.

The Valley View Downs and Bedford officials commented that the approaching deadline urge them to finalize a deal. Bedford head Carmen W. Schick, two siblings and others will divide the $75 million among themselves based on their interests in the organization. Centaur Officials commented that they will bid for a license from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to offer 5,000 slot machines.

Officials also discussed the advantage of constructing a racing and slot machines establishment from scratch. The location, which is about 2 miles from Edinburg, is a reclaimed mine. The track of Valley View will be the largest in the state.

Pennsylvania already has three harness racing tracks with a casino facility: The Meadows racing track located in Washington County, the Pocono Downs located in Wilkes-Barre, and Harrah's Chester Downs in Philadelphia. On November 2005, the commission dismissed the application from Bedford and Valley View but the state Supreme Court decided that both groups could apply again.

Officials of Centaur Incorporated said that they have not yet decided what they will do with the land in Beaver County where they previously planned to build the Valley View Downs. That location was dismissed because of issues with the access and racing track's overall design.

Bedford Downs was previously denied a harness track license because the commission decided that Schick's grandfather, Carmen Ambrosia, dealt with ex-Youngstown mob boss Lenine Strollo. But the commission said that there is no evidence that Shick or his business partners had any dealings with crime organizations.


Wednesday, 26 September 2007
Marissa Patterson