Race track and casino plans revived in Lawrence County - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Race track and casino plans revived in Lawrence County

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A proposed race track and casino is gaining new attention in Lawrence County. 

The Pennsylvania State Gaming Control Board held a public hearing Thursday on a license application, by a group of Philadelphia based investors.  

The hearing room was standing room only and more than 50 people had signed up to address the Gaming Control Board. The newest version of the proposed project is called Lawrence Downs and Casino Resort.  It would be located on land at state Route 422 and 551. The developer is Endeka Entertainment.  

Phase one of the project would be a $210 million investment that would feature a one mile harness racing track, a casino with 1,000 slot machines, 30 live gaming tables, 10 poker tables, a food court and sports bar. The project is seeing new life in part because of Endeka's partnership with Penn National Gaming, the same developer of the racino nearing completion in Austintown.

"Penn National, of course, is the game changer in this equation. They're one of the largest gaming companies in the world and they're now a partner and the managing partner of the facility, so we feel pretty good about the financing at this point," said Steve Craig, Lawrence County Commissioner.

The project is estimated to create 1,200 construction jobs, 600 permanent jobs, a jump start for the local economy and provide the catalyst for more development.

The Endeka group already holds a harness racing license, but the casino license from the gaming control board is key to the project.

"And, now it's our job to decide whether or not this is a good location for Pennsylvania's thirteenth casino, said Doug Harbach, with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

There is no organized opposition to the project. 

The board's decision is not expected before early fall. Penn National said construction would take 18 months.  
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