We'll find out soon enough:
"American Harness Tracks, the Pittsburgh company hoping to build a racetrack and casino in Lawrence County, is turning to Philadelphia in its effort to raise the cash needed to bring the long-delayed Valley View Downs project into being. The two biggest names are familiar to those who have followed the gaming scene on the east side of the state for the last decade -- insurance executive Manuel Stamatakis was an investor in the failed downtown Philadelphia Foxwoods casino proposal, as was Edward Snider, chairman of Comcast Spectacor, which owns the Philadelphia Flyers ... Other Philadelphia-area investors are part of the newly recruited group, as well, including Peter DePaul, a property developer who was also involved in the proposed Foxwoods casino." (Photo of Manuel Stamatakis: Drexel University)
This is a good sign, though not a slam dunk -- Stamatakis and Snider were both also investors in the defunct Philadelphia Trotters and Pacers Inc., which had hoped to secure a harness racing license. That effort failed in 2004, while the Foxwoods casino died a slower death, finally succumbing in 2011, when the state Gaming Control Board revoked Foxwoods' casino license because of construction delays. (Photo of Ed Snider: Getty Images)
Sands under investigation
Via the Wall Street Journal this weekend, we learn that Las Vegas Sands -- which has a casino in Pennsylvania, and is controlled by a notable Republican donor -- is being investigated for money laundering:
"Authorities are investigating whether Las Vegas Sands Corp. and several of its executives violated money-laundering laws by failing to alert them to millions of dollars transferred to of its casinos by high rollers, The Wall Street Journal reported on its front page over the weekend. The U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles is looking at how the casino handled money from a customer later indicted on drug trafficking charges and a former California executive subsequently convicted of taking illegal kickbacks, the Journal reported, citing people involved in the probe. It comes as Las Vegas Sands, which is controlled by billionaire Republican super-donor Sheldon Adelson, is investigated for possibly violating the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in its operations in Macau, a Chinese territory."
Notes from the border
Which border? All of them, as the mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states all try to outdo each other:
"Cash-hungry states have long tried to poach business from one another. Now many are stepping up their efforts to lure gamblers from their neighbors to their growing ranks of slot machines, leaving states like Delaware, which embraced gambling early, struggling to keep up in what has become a feverish one-armed-bandit arms race. Gambling revenue accounts for more than 7 percent of Delaware's general fund budget, making it the state's fourth biggest revenue stream, ahead of its corporate income tax and gross receipts tax. But when new casinos in Maryland and Pennsylvania began to attract the gamblers who once fed quarters into Delaware's machines, the state acted. First it legalized a form of sports betting. Then it allowed table games including blackjack, craps and roulette. But its gambling revenues have continued to fall." (New York Times)
... The Philly Inquirer says Ohio's casino take could put a dent in Pennsylvania's:
This city on the southern shore of Lake Erie, where manufacturing jobs have disappeared and NBA superstar LeBron James bolted two years ago, has something new to tout: a casino. Ohio became the 23d state to add commercial gambling halls when the $350 million Horseshoe Casino opened here in mid-May.
Gaming analysts say the ramping up of Ohio's gambling industry -- a second casino opened in Toledo two weeks after Horseshoe, while a third is set to open in October in Columbus and a fourth in early 2013 in Cincinnati -- will likely steal some market share from Pennsylvania. Toledo and Cincinnati, however, are on Ohio's western border and are five-hour drives from Pennsylvania. Columbus is in the center of the state.
... How much will they steal? Hundreds of millions, potentially:
"Gamblers bet more than $417 million in the first full month in business at Ohio's two casinos, and operators paid out more than $371 million in winnings, the Ohio Casino Control Commission reported. The commission detailed the 89-percent payout in the first report on revenues at the Horseshoe casino that opened May 14 in Cleveland and the Hollywood Toledo casino that opened two weeks later. The casinos' share after payouts was more than $46 million." (Associated Press)
Odds and ends
"The Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska wants to build a casino and hotel in downtown Sioux City, Iowa" ... The area near Pennsylvania's Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs is on the verge of a hotel boom, says the Times-Tribune ... Maryland's newsest casino continues to perform well in its second month of operation, which naturally leads to questions about whether another casino should be approved in Maryland ... Pennsylvania slot machine revenue fell slightly in July, year over year -- note that both Rivers Casino and the Meadows were down, but not as dramatically as Presque Isle: