Slots Bill May Not Even Be Up For a Vote in Maryland

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The slots bill’s aim of legalizing slot machines in Maryland has not progressed in the passed 4 years; prospects regarding the passage of the bill in the current session are not very good.

On March 7, 2007, acknowledging that the slots bill has a big chance of not passing, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. commented that it will be hard enough to debate the looming $1.3 billion that Maryland faces.

He told the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee that they can raise around $800 million for public schools yearly if they approve the placement of 15,500 slot machines in 7 are The chances that the bill will even be discussed in the Senate Chamber are equal to zero.

The Hearing will show the testimonies from the leading members of the horse racing industry who commented that neighboring states, like Pennsylvania, that have slot machines placed in their racing tracks are slowly killing the horse race industry in Maryland.

The extra money will create bigger prizes that Maryland cannot possibly compete with, according to Alan Foreman, General Counsel for the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. He said that the bottom line is that they need money desperately.

Minor Carter, a resident of Annapolis who is the representative of Stop Slots Maryland, commented that their organization was preparing for the bigger battles regarding the slots problem. He also said that influencing the Senate will not work because of the ability of Miller to push the legislation to pass.

Mr. Miller said that some parts of the slots law may pass because of the shortage in cash. He also commented that he is discussing the matter with Gov. Martin O’Malley and House Speaker Michael E. Busch, a Democrat from Annapolis, and trying to come up with an alternative solution in the event that the slot machines will not be approved.

Mr. Busch, one of the staunchest opponents of casino slots, commented that the current Senate situation must be used for more important issues. Mr. O’Malley commented that while he is in favor of the slot machines in racing tracks, the current session should be utilized for more immediate issues; the debate regarding new sources of money, like the slot machines, can be relegated for next year’s session.



Slots Facilities in Pennsylvania Expected to Contribute $360 Million

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On June 22nd, 2008, the state is expected to achieve a forty percent growth regarding their profits and offer more three thousand jobs in the next fifteen months as a pair of temporary slots establishments are changed into permanent gambling locations and two more gaming facilities are constructed, according to Kevin Hayes, the Director of Operations for the Pennsylvania Gambling Board.

The Meadows Racing Track and Casino located in Washington, Washington County and the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, will be modified from temporary gambling locations to permanent gambling locations. Director Hayes commented that these modifications, together with the construction of the Sands Bethworks in Bethlehem, Northampton County and the Majestic Star Casino in Pittsburgh are widely expected to produce $650 million in gambling revenues.

Hayes added that Pennsylvania would receive a total of $360 million in taxes every year base on the estimates. He added that the expansion of gambling in the state in the next fifteen month will match the gambling growth in the commonwealth during the year 2006 and 2007.

Slots Casinos in Pennsylvania Perform Beyond Satisfaction

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On March 23, 2007, it was stated that from January 1, 2007 to the middle of March, the slot machines placed in the 4 racing tracks in Pennsylvania have received a total of around $1.57 billion in total wagers and have paid out $17.5 million in total winnings and fund development for horse racing, according to the statistics in the possession of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

The year’s leader was the Philadelphia Park Casino and Racetrack, which opened last December, with a total of $632 million. A Harness establishment, the Harrah’s Chester Downs, was second at $449 million, even though it just opened in January.

The Mohegan Sun at the Pocono Downs, which is another horse racing harnessing track that opened in November, had a total of $352 million in slots revenues. The Presque Isle Downs, which opened on March 1, 2007, produced around $141.9 million in total profits after being open for just 3 weeks.

Under the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act, about 12% of the adjusted gross profits from people who play slots at the racing tracks will go directly to purses and the breed development geared for Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing.

The racing tracks have their own profit target that they must attain. The profit target of Philly Park is around $6.6 million for the purses and breed development, the Chester Downs, whose actual meet will not begin until June 2007, a total of $5.1 million, the Pocono Downs, which will open on March 31, 2007, a total of $4.1 million and the Presque Isle Downs, which will debut their Thoroughbred racing on September 1, 2007, a total of $1.58 million.



Slots Casino Developer will Preserve Plant Mementos

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On April 27, 2007, more than 10 years after its furnaces stopped churning, the Bethlehem Steel Plant is set for major renovation. The plant will be changed into a casino complex worth $600 million owned and operated the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, the owner of the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Veg

Jerry Werkheiser, who has worked at the plant for about 2 decades and has led plant tours at the closed plant, commented that it would be disturbing to lose the plant. The demolition of the plant will not start until the first week of June.

Workers must first move important items from the site, like the 60-foot-long, 187,000-pound gun from the USS Mississippi, a warship that took part in World War II. The contractor of the project, the Brandenburg Industrial Service Corporation, will demolish 11 buildings, such as the locomotive shop and the foundry for the steel items.

Though historians in the area grieve over the loss of the plant, the Sands Casino plans to restore over 20 buildings, like the 1,500 foot long machine shop. The facility will feature a hotel, restaurant, shops, entertainment venue and a slots casino. Historian Lance Metz said that some of the important buildings will be saved, but unfortunately some will have to be demolished.

Bethlehem Mayor, John Callahan, commented that the casino will help revitalize the plant. Sands also plans to operate a casino that will feature 3,000 slot machines the end of next year, 300 hotel rooms and a 50,000 sq ft convention facility after 3 months and an additional 2,000 slot machines 2009.

Slots Casino Not the Only Option of a Squirrel Hill Developer

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On March 26, 2007, a developer from Squirrel Hill was considering slot machines as one of the options to replace the closed Palace Inn Hotel. Craig Cozza, President of Cozza Enterprises, commented that he had been discussing the option of applying for a gambling license to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

He also said that the establishment looks like a casino, similar to the way that they constructed buildings back in 1972. However, Cozza did not join the hearing set the Pennsylvania Gaming Board that was scheduled on Tuesday, March 27, 2007. Cozza said that while he is not dismissing the possibility of a slots casino, he is still entertaining other possibilities for the area like a water resort, big retailers or even a combination of retail and hotel facility.

Cozza said that with Westinghouse Electric Company, owned Toshiba, planning on moving out of the Monroeville area the year 2010, a hotel in the area may not be the best option.

The Palace Inn establishment was built and opened in 1973 Mr. Al Monzo, who died in 2000 and left the Palace Inn to his wife Daisy Monzo and their family. The Monzo family sold the area, which is around 178,000 sq ft, because they found it difficult to meet the expenses of the establishment.

Cozza brought the business in September 2006 for about $7.58 million, almost 2 years after the Palace Inn closed down their business. The establishment was well known for a variety of entertainment offerings like nightclubs, boxing, ballroom dancing, a wedding destination as well as receptions. Offers MegaSpin Slots Game to Players

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