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Panel: Slots help Pennsylvania tracks

26 February 2008

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania -- As reported by the Baltimore Business Journal: "Progress and optimism were the themes of day Monday, when the 4th Annual Pennsylvania Gaming Congress & Mid Atlantic Racing Forum kicked off in Harrisburg.

"Panel discussions focused on the status of the horse racing industry in the state -- characterized as improved and improving -- and the impact slots casinos have had on the industry thus far.

"...Act 71, the law that legalized slots in the state, sends 12 percent of slot revenues to racing purses, thus increasing the number and quality of horses and attracting more spectators.

"...State lawmakers approved a slots referendum bill in November allowing residents to vote in November 2008 on whether to legalize 15,000 slot machines in Maryland.

"The Meadows Racetrack & Casino in Meadowlands, Pa., the closest racing and slots operation to Pittsburgh, offers harness racing and more than 1,800 slots.

"Harrah's total purses increased from $3.4 million in 2006 to $21.7 million in 2007, due to the infusion of slot revenue. Betting was up as well, with live handle (the total amount of money wagered), up 20 percent year over year, Harrison said.

"John Finamore, senior vice president of regional operations for Penn National Gaming, said the Hollywood Casino at Penn National in Grantville, Pa. hasn't been open long enough to post similar statistics, but he expects daily purses to increase from $65,000 to $110,000..."

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