RIP, Valley View?

Written by Bill Toland on .

Valley View Downs rendering, via LPCiminelli Inc. Can you hear the death rattle? Or is that just my transmission?:

"An Indianapolis company's long-delayed plan to build a $430 million racetrack/casino in Lawrence County has gotten some dire financial news and could be on life support. A financial news service called Debtwire said yesterday that lenders for Centaur Inc. will 'push to abort [the] Pennsylvania racino project [and] get repaid early.' The news service said that according to its unnamed sources, "tightening credit markets" had "pushed [Centaur] into a corner'' and as a result, its proposed Valley View Downs racetrack/casino west of New Castle may become a victim of roiled financial markets."

A Valley View spokeswoman said the company still plans to build the casino. If the project doesn't collapse, it likely means that Centaur -- much like Don Barden's PITG Gaming -- may have to break ties with its original financiers and go in search of news ones.

So does this news crack open the door for a casino south of Gettysburg, near the Maryland border?:

"One person who might have seen the writing on the wall -- and is rooting for the collapse of the Centaur deal -- is Gettysburg motorcycle dealer David LeVan, who two years ago wanted to build a controversial stand-alone casino just outside Gettysburg, and now thinks the Centaur failure may provide him another opening. 'This doesn't come as a surprise to me. It's one of the reasons I went public a couple of weeks ago,' he said yesterday. He said he wanted to send a message to the Harness Racing Commission and the gaming board, letting both know there are other options."

... The Beaver County Times version, from a day ago: "Indiana-based Centaur Inc. might have to step aside as sole owner of a proposed horse track and slots casino in Lawrence County and look for financial help from a private investment group, a county official said Thursday. Lawrence County Commissioners Chairman Steve Craig, responding to reports that the $425 million Valley View Downs project is experiencing serious financial trouble, said he still thinks the facility will be built. It just might not be built exclusively by Centaur, he said."

Proper chaining techniqueViva La Resistance!

"Casino-Free Philadelphia, a citizens group that strongly opposes the sites for both casinos to be built in Philadelphia, may be getting physical. The group plans to conduct a 'training session' on Saturday in Philadelphia that's designed 'to teach community members how to occupy the proposed casino sites in the event the casinos try to break ground.' In a news release today, the group added, 'We will practice blockade techniques, such as chaining ourselves to the fence' around each site."

Dispatches from the border

The Donald may have to shopping at one of those discount toupee places:

"Trump Entertainment Resorts, the casino company founded by Donald Trump, reported a wider second-quarter loss as its Atlantic City properties attracted fewer gamblers. The loss from continuing operations was $16.5 million, or 52 cents a share, compared with $16.2 million, or 52 cents, a year earlier. Revenue fell 4.8 percent, to $177.9 million, from $186.8 million, the company said in a statement."

But another company sees promise in slumping Atlantic City, and doesn't plan to shed its big beachfront property:

"Las Vegas-based Pinnacle Entertainment company plans to hold onto its land on and near the Atlantic City boardwalk until credit markets improve and it can build its mega-casino project, Chairman Dan Lee said Wednesday. The theme of the casino, a closely held secret for nearly two years, will be based on a beach house."

... To the Buckeye State!:

"The group MyOhioNow [has] turned over petitions in an effort to build a casino in Southwest Ohio's Clinton county. MyOhioNow officials say they've turned in about twice the number of petitions they'll need to get the question on the November ballot. They say the planned casino-resort off Interstate 71 would bring in about 5,000 new jobs, and they've also devised a plan that would help divide Casino revenues among all 88 counties in Ohio."

... To the Old Line State!:

"Once an elite horse racing state that dominated the mid-Atlantic, Maryland has been brought down by a competitive imbalance with tracks in neighboring states that grew powerful after slot machines were legalized and began fueling race purses. The Maryland industry hopes a slots referendum going before voters Nov. 4 will level the playing field, but for now it struggles. Small, however, sees more to it. The MTHA for years has set as its ideal year-round racing in the state, but Small believes there is a glut of racing in the mid-Atlantic and trainers should not expect stall space to be subsidized when the tracks are out of season."

 Odds and ends

West Virginia continues to rake in big revenues from newly legalized table games ... The (Jason) Bay state says it could reap $600 million anually for the state's coffers if it legalized casinos ...MTR Gaming may shed some properties to cut debt ...  The lastest on the Louis DeNaples case out east ... Harrah's releases its second-quarter results.

Chicago finally gets some shows to go with all of those slots:

"Metropolitan Chicago is the third largest gambling - or, as the casinos prefer to call it, gaming - market in North America. But unlike in Las Vegas, where singularly spectacular shows and concerts have been a desert draw for decades, Chicago-area casinos have never expended much energy on entertainment ... Next weekend, that's all going to change. And it's likely to seriously roil Chicago's hyper-competitive market for live shows. The catalyst is the opening of The Venue at the Horseshoe Casino, a huge, 2,500-seat theater that's a key part of the newly expanded Horseshoe, a Hammond, Ind., entity now owned by the Harrahs Corp., a behemoth of the gaming industry that also owns the Caesar's Palace, Bally's and Flamingo brands, as well as its chain of namesake casinos."

Can't wait for that first Celine Dion concert.

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