Last week it was reported that the new investor in a proposed Lawrence County, Pennsylvania casino and racetrack in Mahoning Township was expressing concerns about the project’s ability to meet mandated deadlines, warning that the proposal “could die” if they weren’t relaxed. Now, Endeka officials are asking the state Harness Racing Commission in a meeting today to ease up on the deadlines, which pragmatically make the proposal unworkable.
Lawrence Downs currently must break ground by October 2016. Additional deadlines insist that plans or the facility must be made available early next year and that racing must begin in 2017. Failure to meet any of the deadlines could result in the commission revoking the developer’s harness racing license.
The Harness Racing Commission currently consists of one member, Chairman Jonathan Newman, and has 2 unfilled vacancies.
The October ground breaking target is unworkable according to company spokespeople because it could take months before the state gaming commission approves a license and construction can’t begin until both licenses are in hand. It would also require several months after the licenses are issued for construction to begin.
Last month a state Senator who represents the district where Lawrence Downs would be located petitioned the Harness Racing Commission to reconsider the timetable.
In April Penn National was let out of their obligation to construct the facility (pictured) and in October Joseph Procacci of Philadelphia was given the Commission’s blessing to buy out other investors in Endeka.
As currently stated, Lawrence Downs will include a casino with 1,500 slot, 38 table games, and 15 poker tables along with the state’s only mile-long harness racing track. Additional ancillary amenities are expected to include an indoor water park, hotels, and several food and beverage establishments. In addition to the roughly 1,000 construction jobs created to build the facility, some 600 people are expected to be employed full time.
The facility would be located about 11 miles from Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Racecourse in Youngstown, Ohio – operated by Penn National Gaming.