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Harrisburg, PA — The United States Trotting Association has reported that the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission, as it did last year, has unanimously adopted a resolution opposing a plan by Gov. Tom Wolf to shift $199 million from the Race Horse Development Fund Trust and use the funds for a higher-education scholarship program. The PHRC took the action at its Feb. 23 meeting. The resolution will be printed and sent to the governor’s office. Budget hearings for fiscal 2021-22 are underway in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The Senate Appropriations Committee on April 8 is scheduled to hold the budget hearing for the state Department of Agriculture, which oversees horse racing and breeding in the state. The motion on the resolution was made by PHRC member Tom Ellis, who said the governor’s proposal would have a “negative and disastrous impact” on the horse racing industry, agriculture and economic development. He said he understands the need to address student debt but “robbing Peter to pay Paul” isn’t the answer. Fellow commissioner Sal DeBunda agreed and said the PHRC has an obligation to promote and regulate the industry. The resolution was supported during the “industry reports” part of the meeting by Sam Beegle, president of the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association; Kim Hankins, executive director of the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association; and Mike Simpson, an executive at Hanover Shoe Farms and treasurer of the Standardbred Breeders Association of Pennsylvania. The PHHA, MSOA, and SBA of PA are members of the Pennsylvania Equine Coalition along with Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Pennsylvania Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association. The groups market racing and breeding and also lobby to protect the industry’s interests. In other news at the meeting, it was announced that over the first four days of the “Game of Claims” series at Mohegan Sun Pocono, there were 97 claims valued at roughly $1.6 million in total. by Tom LaMarra, for the USTA

WASHINGTON, PA, May 15, 2020 -- After 11 days of silence, PA Gov. Tom Wolf responded to the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission (PHRC) on when it could resume harness racing in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately for horsemen, his response was not what we wanted to hear: "As part of this reopening effort, we foresee horse racing reopening when counties enter the green phase, like other entertainment (casinos, theaters, etc). I commend the Commission's efforts to implement mitigation efforts for those who are continuing to care for the horses at this time, and forethought in planning for how to address public health and safety as it relates to each phase of reopening." To read Gov. Wolf's full letter to the PHRC, visit The Meadows Stadardbred Owners Association (MSOA) has responded to Gov. Wolf with the open letter below: Dear Gov. Wolf: In your letter to PHRC, you lump racing with other large venues, such as casinos and theaters. The reality is that horse racing occurs outdoors and can easily follow CDC guidelines; because our trainer/drivers and caretakers must exercise, feed and care for their horses every day, we're already on the backside, and we're already following CDC safety guidelines. And those guidelines are working. We've had no COVID-19 positives -- not a single one -- in our paddock and backside areas. Moreover, unlike other sports, horse racing can be conducted without spectators. Fans can watch the races and wager from a variety of platforms, including phone and computer. Since racing at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino was shut down on March 16, horsemen and horsewomen have been without income. Yet because horses continue to need food, bedding, exercise and veterinary care, expenses have continued. While other small businesses can cut costs and furlough staff, racing stables cannot do the same. Costs for upkeep of a single Standardbred can reach $2,500 per month -- and there has been no income to offset this. Many of us have applied for unemployment compensation and government loans; some have yet to hear back or receive any funding to help us through this unprecedented time. Consider the plight of D&G Stables, operated by Dean and Glenda Collins at the Meadows. Of the nine horses in its stable, D&G owns seven outright, meaning there are no outside owners to help them meet their significant monthly bills. Right now, this situation is altogether typical. Norm Parker, who trains 30 horses at the Meadows, puts it this way: "If we have a reopening date we could shoot for. our horses will be ready to race and start making money again. We are hoping to reach the 'green' phase and start earning a living again. We'll be able to pay our vendors. pay for hay and feed, and it will make everyone feel a little bit better." Currently, 90 percent of the people needed to resume live racing at The Meadows are already reporting to the backside and working every day. Trainer/drivers are here. Caretakers are here. Track and facilities maintanence staff are here. Security personnel are here. Resumption of racing would require about 20 additional people -- and these would be at scattered sites. State veterinarians and other PHRC personnel would be on the backside, but state judges would be at their office in the main casino building. The TV production crew would be in that bulding or outdoors while pari-mutuel clerks -- to handle phone wagers -- would work in a completely separate facility. Thus, the population on the backside, where stringent CDC measures already are in place, would be increased by only a few people. In light of all this, the MSOA respectfully requests that you reconsider your timeline and authorize immediate resumption of live racing, without spectators, at The Meadows. Indeed, our neighboring state of Ohio has done just that, announcing that live racing in Ohio can resume on May 22. Similarly, Indiana and Ontario have announced that live racing at their tracks will resume in June. If you authorize the reopening of racing at The Meadows now, you will immeasurably aid our horsemen and horsewomen, provide a much-needed form of entertainment for Pennsylvanians and, since the Commonwealth receives a commission on every wager, restore a key revenue stream to the state. And you'll accomplish this without adversely affecting public health and safety. Respectfully, Richard G. Gillock, President Meadows Standardbred Owners Association The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA) is a nonproft oganization that represents the interests of approximately 700 Standardbred trainers, drivers, caretakers and owners at The Meadows. In addition to providing horses to race at The Meadows, MSOA administers such member-centric services as health insurance and retirement programs for horsemen and horsewomen. By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. — The horse racing community is urging Governor Tom Wolf to loosen the reins on the industry. Many horse trainers and owners said they are struggling to afford care as the shutdown of racing stretches into week eight. “Right now, I would be very busy probably racing four to five days a week,” said Neal Ehrhart, of Lititz, Lancaster County. Ehrhart has been a horse trainer for 45 years. He and his wife Ginny own 12 Standardbred horses that they train for harness racing. Though the industry shutdown has halted their revenue, the couple still has to care for and feed their athletic animals. Rachel Yonkunas   ✔@RachelYonkunas     As the shutdown of harness racing stretches into week 8, horse trainers and owners are urging @GovernorTomWolf to loosen the reins on the industry. Despite having no income, the Ehrharts still have 12 massive athletes to care for and feed. TONIGHT at 10:00 on @fox43   “We earn nearly 100% of our income from racing. We depend upon the purses that we win when we race,” explained Ehrhart. “That’s how we make our livelihood. That’s how we feed our family.” Ehrhart said caring for a dozen Standardbreds costs nearly $30,000 a month. They have not received any financial help, including unemployment. This mom-and-pop stable feels left in the dust. “We’ve applied for just about everything that’s out there, both federally and statewide, and have gotten zip, nothing, nada,” stated Ehrhart. Some states, like Florida and California, have allowed tracks to continue holding horse races, but without spectators present. The State Horse Racing Commission is urging Governor Wolf to follow suit. Governor Wolf has previously said he would consider the option, but the Governor’s Office did not provide details to FOX43. “That’s what’s scary,” Ehrhart added. “I don’t know what [date] we could go to because we can’t just say ‘well we’re going to show up at the track and go race.’ We have to have the OK from the governor to do that.” Until then, the work never stops. The Ehrharts continue to train their massive athletes that are champing at the bit to get back in the race. “It’s not like you can turn it off. You have to take care of these horses daily,” said Ehrhart. “When the floodgates open, you have to be ready to go and race.” The Wolf Administration has created a list of general guidance for all industries in each phase of reopening. You can find that information here.   by Rachel Yonkunas   Reprinted with permission FOX43

PLAINS TWP. – While Gov. Tom Wolf was in Taylor on Thursday pitching his 2020 budget and the $204 million Nellie Bly Scholarship Program it would create, Pete Peterson stood in Pacers Clubhouse at Mohegan Sun Pocono and questioned the wisdom of how Wolf would fund the scholarship. Wolf’s plan would divert money from the Race Horse Development Trust Fund, which receives funding from Pennsylvania slots revenue, to pay for the scholarship program. Peterson said diverting those funds would be fatal for the horse and harness racing industry. “It would effectively end the harness racing industry as we know it,” said Peterson, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Equine Coalition — an organization representing the six Thoroughbred and Standard-bred horsemen and breeder associations in the state. “It basically takes away all the money that exists for purses and for breeders incentives,” he said. “That’s the lifeblood of the industry.” Mohegan Sun Pocono, which has featured live harness racing for 55 years, will host 133 nights of live racing this year. Wolf, though, believes the money could be better spent. “Let’s bet on our kids instead of bankrolling race horse owners and ensure the viability of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education,” Wolf told those gathered at Riverside High School on Thursday. However, Peterson cautioned that it is more than just the harness and horse racing industry that would be affected. “The industry as a whole has a much broader impact than most people realize,” Peterson said. “They take a look at a track, and they say that’s who the industry employs. “Well, there are thousands of breeders and the people that work for them. And then you have on top of that a range of people from trainers to jockeys to drivers …” Others professions that benefit from the horse racing industry, according to Peterson include, blacksmiths, veterinarians, exercise riders, grooms, equine dentists, equine therapists, jockey agents, hot walkers, nutritionists, bloodstock agents and more. Peterson said that harness and horse racing contribute about 20,000 jobs to the state and has an overall economic impact of $1.6 billion. In addition, Peterson fears the impact taking the funds away from racing will have on the state’s farmers. “It’s going to have a much broader impact on the agriculture economy in the state than I think most people realize,” he said. Noting that the racing industry is typically the top-level buyer for hay, Peterson said the governor’s diverting of funds comes at a bad time for farmers. “Last year, Pennsylvania saw a 20 percent increase in farm bankruptcies,” he said. “And a lot of them are struggling financially, and then to take away their largest customer. “It’s going to really hurt them.” By Joe Soprano Reprinted with permission of The Times Leader

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has released its twelfth annual ‘Racetrack Casino Benchmark Report,’ taking an in depth look at what impact the state’s casinos have on the Commonwealth’s horse racing industry. Currently encapsulating ten stand-alone and racetrack casinos as well as two smaller resort casinos and two race and sportsbooks, approximately 17,000 are employed at the facilities with in the region of $1.4bn per annum generated in tax revenue, ten per cent of which was earmarked for the horseracing industry in 2018. Amongst the findings of the report is that $242m in slot machine tax revenue was generated, representing a 1.3 per cent increase from the previous year’s $238.5m. This is for the benefit of the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development Trust Fund, earmarked for enhancements of race purses and assisting breeding operations located in the Keystone State, providing health and pension benefits for horsemen and supporting agricultural initiatives. Stating in the report that “the racing industry in Pennsylvania is significant in size and continues to be supported by the success of legalised gaming,” 2018 “proved to be a challenging year” for the horse racing industry following 2017’s positives. The total wagered for the year fell five per cent to $669m, with a taxable handle also declining three per cent, as the PGCB stressed environmental impacts negatively affecting performance, notably stating “Pennsylvania received record rainfall in 2018”. The report also lauded a continued investment in backstretch improvement by casinos, which has spent £73m spent since 2006 to build or renovate buildings and structures. Attendance figures also continued to decline, this time by 15 per cent as numbers reached 582,161 for the period, however the regulator sees cause for optimism: “Increasing attendance can be a challenge for the industry due to alternative forms of entertainment that are available to the general public. “Additionally, the only option for patrons to place a wager in the past was if they physically made a visit to the racetracks. This evolved with the opening of off-track wagering facilities and then the subsequent improvement in technology allowing patrons to wager from their personal computer or mobile device. “These new services available to place a wager made it easier and more convenient for patrons to enjoy horse and harness racing, without attending the races at the tracks.” The horse racing tracks operating in conjunction with casinos in Pennsylvania are: Thoroughbred Parx Casino in Bucks County. Presque Isle Downs and Casino in Erie County. Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Dauphin County. Harness The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Luzerne County. The Meadows Casino and Racetrack in Washington County. Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack in Delaware County. Reprinted with permission of

CHESTER PA - Hot trainer Gareth Dowse can do little wrong these days - he took over the care of Obvious Blue Chip, New York Sire Stakes champion and harness racing winner of $379G at three but a puzzlement in two starts at four, found her key, then saw her go out and overcome post eight and a 29-day break from the races with a 1:51.1 victory in the $17,000 fillies and mares pacing feature at Harrah's Philadelphia Wednesday afternoon. Tim Tetrick had little trouble reaching the top despite the outer draw and rattled off fractions of 27.1, 55.3, and 1:24 with the Roll With Joe mare. In the stretch, it looked like pocketsitter Pass Line Bluechip could be a threat, but Tetrick just chirped to his horse and lifted the lines once, as Obvious Blue Chip obviously knew what to do, winning by 1½ lengths and boosting her earnings to $423,409 for the NLG Racing Stable and Stephen Klunowski. Tetrick was also behind Wild Bill, the full brother to top stakes horse Huntsville ($1.7M) and a colt who had shown much promise before his two-year-old season ended after four starts. Making his first purse start in nearly eleven months, Wild Bill was victorious in a lifetime best 1:51.4 - but it was far from an easy victory. Wild Bill was settled into third early from post seven as Artifact Hanover took advantage of the rail and was sent down the road by Corey Callahan, with Tetrick putting Wild Bill into play down the back. The two were virtually inseparable from before the ¾ pole, and in the stretch one could imagine seeing mirror images - Tetrick and Callahan wearing similar green-and-yellow colors, both horses with sulkies with yellow wheel disks, and the red of post position one's saddle pad not that variegated from the pink of post seven's. It was only in the shadow of the wire that Wild Bill finally laid claim to victory, getting by his stubborn rival by a neck. Ray Schnittker is trainer and owner of the Somebeachsomewhere sophomore, and his future road will be an interesting one. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia  

The hopes for a multi-million-dollar harness racing track/casino in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania ended Wednesday as reported by the New Castle News. After 45 minutes of deliberation, following an almost three-hour hearing, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board voted unanimously to deny Endeka Entertainment’s casino license application. The vote ended the 12-year effort to locate a racetrack/casino in Mahoning Township. The gaming board’s action was at the recommendation of its enforcement counsel, Cyrus Pitre. “It was not the kind of news you want to hear,” said Attorney John O’Riorden, representing Endeka and its majority stockholder, Philadelphia produce giant Joseph Procacci, who attended the hearing. “Mr. Procacci is very disappointed with the decision of the gaming board, but not bitter,” O’Riorden said. “He had hoped the board would give us an additional 60 days to finalize our financing. We had told them if we were unable to do so, in that 60-day extension, we would voluntarily withdraw and that would be the end of it. But the board did not give us the additional time.” O’Riorden said the new financial partners, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, attended the hearing. He adds that Procacci, 89, is “exploring his options.” The project, first proposed in 2004, envisioned a multi-million-dollar facility at Routes 422 and 551 in Mahoning Township that would have included the state’s only one-mile harness racing track, slot machines, a full casino and restaurants and entertainment venues. Procacci entered the effort to bring a racetrack/casino to Lawrence County in May 2015, after Penn National Gaming pulled out of the project. To read the rest of this story, click here.

Governor Tom Wolf today signed House Bill 941, which, among other things, includes much-needed reforms of Pennsylvania's equine racing industry. The governor was joined by state Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding, members of each of the legislative caucuses, leadership from the House Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee, and various representatives of the racing industry. "Racing today is drastically different today than what it was 35 years ago when the last reform effort was put into law," Wolf said right after signing the bill, which is now referred to as Act 6. "It was clear that the status quo was no longer sufficient to maintain the integrity of the industry, to protect the wagering public, and to ensure proper oversight of racing in the commonwealth. Simply put, the system was broken. We were operating under a structural deficit that undermined our ability to regulate the industry properly and maximize the economic opportunities of this industry." In October 2015, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture announced it no longer had the financial resources necessary to maintain operations at the state's two racing commissions - the Horse Racing Commission and the Harness Racing Commission - or to operate the Pennsylvania Equine Toxicology Research Laboratory at West Chester University where samples from Thoroughbred and Standardbred horses are tested for performance-enhancing substances. As a result, the state faced the difficult prospect of suspending racing in Pennsylvania. The structural deficit in the State Racing Fund was the result of a 71 percent decline in wagers on live horse racing in the state since 2001. Pari-mutuel taxes on those wagers fund the oversight of racing in the state. That persistent imbalance had been noted by the Wolf administration, the administrations of previous governors, as well as the state auditor general and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. In response to this challenge, the Wolf administration convened a working group of state officials, members of the General Assembly, and stakeholders from the equine industry and the state's six licensed racetrack operators to develop a solution. The results of those negotiations are reflected in Act 6. Among other things, the new law combines the two racing commissions into one unified commission that strengthens the governance of the industry, yet retains the ability to render decisions on breed-specific issues. The new nine-member commission will be composed of five members appointed by the governor (one veterinarian, one representative of a Thoroughbred horsemen's organization, one representative of a Thoroughbred breeder organization, one representative of a Standardbred horsemen's association and one representative of a Standardbred breeder organization) and four members appointed by each of the four legislative caucuses. The Secretary of Agriculture, or a designee, will be a non-voting, ex-officio member. The new law also makes the industry, rather than taxpayers, responsible for bearing the cost of drug-testing horses, and it institutes new license fees for racetrack operators and for businesses that offer electronic wagering. Act 6 repeals the 10 percent advanced deposit wagering tax on horse races that had been challenged in the courts, and the law calls for a comprehensive industry study to assess the financial, regulatory and market factors of the horse racing industry. The Joint State Government Commission, with assistance from the Independent Fiscal Office, is responsible for conducting the study. "Getting to this point was not easy," Agriculture Secretary Redding, "but thanks to the involvement of the stakeholders, we were able to arrive at a sound compromise that accomplishes our objectives: strengthening the integrity of horse and harness racing in the commonwealth, and putting in place a financial model that will allow for the long-term viability of the State Racing Fund. I want to thank all of the stakeholders, particularly the members of the General Assembly, including the four chairs of the Senate and House Agriculture and Rural Affairs committees, for their leadership and continued engagement on this issue." For more information about racing in Pennsylvania, visit and search "racing." To view House Bill 941 in its entirety, visit Brandi Hunter-Davenport             William R. Nichols | Press Aide Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture | Press Office 2301 North Cameron Street | Hbg PA 17110 Phone: 717.787.5085 | Fax: 717.705.8402      

Harrisburg, PA - Talks between the Governor Wolf administration and leaders of the General Assembly continued to yield progress this week on how to correct a long-standing structural deficit in the State Racing Fund, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said today. As a result of that progress and in light of an expected vote on Senate Bill 352 next week by the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, Secretary Redding said the administration has decided to defer any decision on the suspension of live racing in Pennsylvania. Commenting on the state of negotiations, Secretary Redding offered the following statement: "This week's talks continued to produce positive steps forward. I appreciate the commitment by the chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee and legislative leaders to schedule a committee vote in the House on Senate Bill 352. We continue to build on the framework agreement reached last week on that bill. No one is getting everything they want in this bill, but it will give us the long-term financial fix we need to maintain the integrity of this industry and the tools we need to modernize it for the first time in decades. "We'll keep working with the General Assembly in the coming days to put the finishing touches on the bill so a long-term solution can be enacted in the very near future. We appreciate the engagement and work of the agriculture committee chairs in both chambers -- Senators Vogel and Schwank and state Representatives Causer and Carroll. "Pennsylvania's equine industry is an important part of the state's agriculture sector. Preserving live horse and harness racing is imperative to keep this industry thriving. That was part of the rationale for legalizing gaming and casinos in Pennsylvania in 2004. We're going to stand behind that commitment." by Brandi Hunter-Davenport, PA Dept. Agriculture  

Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc. (GLPI), a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) that spun off from Penn National Gaming late last year, is the company that has acquired The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in eastern Pennsylvania for $465 million from Las Vegas-based Cannery Casino Resorts, L.L.C on Wednesday. The 180,000-square-foot casino has 3,317 slot machines, 61 table games and 14 poker tables. The property includes 11 casual and fine-dining restaurants, bars and lounges, a 24-lane bowling alley and a 5/8 mile harness racing track with a 500-seat grandstand. GLPI said in a release it is seeking a third-party operator for the property. The company would retain ownership of the land and buildings and sell the entities that hold the licenses and operating assets. GLPI plans to pay for the property located in the Pittsburgh suburb of Washington, Penn., with a combination of equity and debt. The REIT said the purchase price “reflects the expected stability of market competition and the robust local economy resulting from Marcellus Shale-related industry.” The deal, which requires approval from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and the Pennsylvania Racing Commission, is expected to close in 2015. by Steve Wolf, for  

It was announced today (Wednesday, May 14) that Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc. (GLPI) has entered into an agreement which will see it acquire The Meadows Casino and Racetrack from Cannery Casino Resorts, LLC for $465 million. A release by GLPI states that it will immediately begin a search for a third-party operator for the property, to whom GLPI expects to sell the entities holding the licenses and operating assets, while retaining ownership of the land and buildings. In its release, GLPI states that it is engaged in the business of acquiring, financing, and owning real estate property to be leased to gaming operators in ‘triple net’ lease arrangements, pursuant to which the tenant is responsible for all facility maintenance, insurance required in connection with the leased properties and the business conducted on the leased properties, taxes levied on or with respect to the leased properties and all utilities and other services necessary or appropriate for the leased properties and the business conducted on the leased properties. Cannery Casino Resorts Co-CEO William Paulos has said that the deal is “terrific” for Cannery, furthering that the deal is a “great outcome for our employees, partners and customers at the Meadows. All net proceeds from this transaction will be used to reduce our debt." The release states that the transaction is subject to and requires approval from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and the Pennsylvania Racing Commission and is expected to close in 2015. Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc. is a Pennsylvania corporation that was incorporated on February 13, 2013 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Penn National Gaming, Inc. On November 1, 2013, Penn completed the spin-off of GLPI by distributing the common stock it held in GLPI to Penn’s shareholders. The contents of the GLPI release appear below. Gaming and Leisure Properties Announces Acquisition of The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Washington, Pennsylvania for $465 Million WYOMISSING, Pa., May 14, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc. (Nasdaq:GLPI) ("GLPI" or the "Company") today announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire The Meadows Racetrack and Casino located in Washington, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from Cannery Casino Resorts, LLC for $465 million. The 180,000 square foot casino, which opened in 2007, contains 3,317 slot machines, 61 table games and 14 poker tables. In addition to the casino, the property includes 11 casual and fine dining restaurants, bars and lounges, a 24-lane bowling alley and a 5/8 mile racetrack with a 500-seat grandstand. The purchase price, which the Company intends to fund with a combination of equity and debt, represents approximately 9 times the property's 2013 EBITDA. The purchase price reflects the expected stability of market competition and the robust local economy resulting from Marcellus Shale-related industry. The Company will immediately begin a search for a third party operator for the property, to whom the Company expects to sell the entities holding the licenses and operating assets, while retaining ownership of the land and buildings. The transaction, which is expected to be accretive immediately upon closing, is subject to and requires approval from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and the Pennsylvania Racing Commission and is expected to close in 2015. Peter M. Carlino, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Gaming and Leisure Properties, commented, "The acquisition of The Meadows represents another step in the execution of our strategy to grow our Company into the leading owner of high quality assets in key regional gaming markets. This acquisition is a prime example of how we are uniquely able to tailor transactions to suit the specific needs of sellers. We look forward to partnering with one of the many quality operators in the gaming industry and believe that this acquisition creates meaningful additional value for our shareholders." William Paulos, Co-CEO of Cannery Casino Resorts, commented, "This is a terrific deal for CCR, and a great outcome for our employees, partners and customers at The Meadows. All net proceeds from this transaction will be used to reduce our debt." A new 154-room hotel, to be owned and operated by a third party operator, is currently under construction adjacent to the casino and is expected to open in 2015. In addition, a new, third party retail center is currently planned, and the property contains developable space for an indoor event venue. Stifel served as financial advisor to Cannery Casino Resorts on this transaction.

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 9, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board today released its seventh annual Racetrack Casino Benchmark Report. Since its first release in 2008, this annual report has concentrated on the impact of Pennsylvania casinos on the state's horse racing industry. In accordance with the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act, approximately 11% of revenue generated from slot machine gaming was earmarked for the racing industry and agricultural initiatives in 2013. As a result, more than $252 million in slot machine tax revenue was generated for the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development Fund. Of this amount, approximately $209 million was used by both the thoroughbred and harness racing industries to enhance purses, assist breeding operations, and provide health and pension benefits for horsemen. Among the specific findings in this year's report are: The amount of tax revenue generated for the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development Fund decreased by approximately 7% in 2013 due to a decrease in gross terminal revenue generated by the casinos which host horse or harness racing. In addition to revenue generated for the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development Fund, racetrack casino operators invested over $6 million in 2013 (and approximately $52 million since casinos opened in 2006) to improve the stable and backside areas of their racetracks. Total dollars wagered on races held in Pennsylvania, referred to as the live racing handle, was approximately 4% higher in 2013 due to an increase in wagering on races held at Pennsylvania racetracks by patrons outside of the Commonwealth. While live racing handle increased, taxable handle decreased by approximately 8% in 2013 mainly due to a decrease in simulcast wagering which is offered at the racetracks, off-track wagering facilities, and through phone wagering services. The full report can be downloaded from the Reports link on the Gaming Control Board's web site,

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