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Centaur project in Pennsylvania could collapse

July 14, 2008

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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