BENSALEM, Pennsylvania – (PRESS RELEASE) -- An attempt by Greenwood Gaming, the owner of Philadelphia Park Casino and Racetrack, to make the temporary, make- shift casino its permanent gaming
facility was heavily criticized today by the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association. Rather than move forward with a promised world class-destination resort, including a $300 million casino, Philadelphia Park has instead requested that the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board classify the current temporary facility as permanent.
"This is a classic bait and switch," said Michael P. Ballezzi, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association. "Greenwood Gaming made elaborate promises to areas residents, local elected officials, and the Gaming Board in order to gain their support and obtain a gaming license. Now the company is backtracking on its promises to build a world- class destination resort -- including a $300 million permanent casino by the fall of 2009. If Philadelphia Park is successful in having this facility deemed 'permanent' there will be nothing left to compel the company to move ahead with any of its promised investments in the site."
Greenwood Gaming's request to make the temporary facility permanent was buried in a petition filed with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on April 5, 2007. At the time, Greenwood Gaming attempted to portray the filing to the media and the public as an attempt to add additional slots to its facility. In fact, it appears the true intent of the filing was, as noted in averment 32 of the petition, to have the current structure "reclassified as a 'permanent' facility."
In testimony before the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board in September, Greenwood Gaming executives testified that construction of the permanent facility would begin this spring. Greenwood Gaming Chairman Bob Green also testified at the time that the permanent facility would be completed in late 2008 or early 2009. The gaming statute requires that a permanent facility be completed within two years of the award of a conditional gaming license, with applicants having the option of applying for an additional year.
"Greenwood Gaming is attempting to get away with a minimal investment at Philadelphia Park without investing the $300 million in a grand permanent casino it had originally promised during its licensure hearings," said Ballezzi. "Rather than a Borgata or Bellagio, Bucks County residents are going to be saddled with what amounts to a local slots hall. Rather than a premier destination, Philadelphia Park's casino could well be the worst in the state. This is unacceptable."
"Greenwood Gaming's request to submit a revised master plan is nothing more than smoke and mirrors," said Ballezzi. "The teeth in the gaming law and licensure process is the requirement that a permanent facility be completed within a two year time frame, with the possibility of a one year extension. Greenwood Gaming is well aware of this and is simply attempting to circumvent the process. This would set a terrible precedent for gaming in Pennsylvania."
The Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, a statewide organization representing owners and trainers at Philadelphia Park Racetrack, is preparing a response opposing Greenwood Gaming's petition to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
|Pennsylvania's newest racino, Philadelphia Park Casino and Racetrack offers horse racing and over 2,400 slot machines.|
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