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Centaur project in Pennsylvania could collapse

Norm Heikens
July 14, 2008
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Pennsylvania gambling regulators have unanimously rebuffed an attempt by Indianapolis-based Centaur LLC to gain a temporary slots license that would clear the way to develop a horse race track and casino.

Financing for the project expires July 15, a Centaur attorney told the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board earlier this month.

"This whole project could go up in smoke," William Lamb warned, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

The board said it had too little information about the people who would control the slot machine license to proceed with the temporary license.

"Valley View Downs' application review and investigation is not to the point where the board felt it had all the necessary background information required within Pennsylvania's strict regulatory environment to issue a conditional license at this time," board Chairman Mary DiGiacomo Colins said in a statement.

Colins added that the July 10 decision didn't affect whether the board would approve a license in the future. A decision will be reached in the "near future," the board said.

The slots license is the last major hurdle for Centaur to clear before going ahead with the project 55 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. The proposed Valley View Downs, which is slated to cost $455 million, would include a one-mile harness track and casino.

Regulators turned down an initial proposal over technical design concerns.

Centaur spokeswoman Susan Kilkenny said in an interview today that it is in "earnest conversations" with lead lender Credit Suisse and other lenders to obtain an extension on the financing.

However, she wouldn't comment further until the talks with lenders conclude.

Centaur owns Hoosier Park horse track at Anderson, which recently installed slot machines as part of an expansion.

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  1. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  2. If you only knew....

  3. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

  4. The facts contained in your post make your position so much more credible than those based on sheer emotion. Thanks for enlightening us.

  5. Please consider a couple of economic realities: First, retail is more consolidated now than it was when malls like this were built. There used to be many department stores. Now, in essence, there is one--Macy's. Right off, you've eliminated the need for multiple anchor stores in malls. And in-line retailers have consolidated or folded or have stopped building new stores because so much of their business is now online. The Limited, for example, Next, malls are closing all over the country, even some of the former gems are now derelict.Times change. And finally, as the income level of any particular area declines, so do the retail offerings. Sad, but true.

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