Valley View Downs developers get financing extension; confirm talks with Penn National

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The developers behind Valley View Downs, a racetrack and casino that's been on the drawing board in Lawrence County for a decade, have asked for and received a 78-day extension to put together enough financing to build the casino.

And that financing may come from one in the giants in the racing industry.

The extension granted today by Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission executive director George Crawford in a two-paragraph order runs until May 31 and means the Philadelphia-based investment group known as Endeka Entertainment gets yet another chance to build come up with at least $170 million in financing availability.

The letter from Mr. Crawford also acknowledged what the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported in February -- that Endeka is in talks with casino giant Penn National Gaming to operate, and perhaps buy a piece of, the harness racing operation, in exchange for financing.

Today was the deadline by which Endeka was supposed to demonstrate its financial viability, thanks to a 45-day deadline extension the harness commission granted in January.

Today's extension is the third granted to the developers since they bought Valley View Downs assets and were granted a conditional harness racing license in 2012.

As long as Valley View and Endeka hold onto the rights to the harness racing track, they also hold the right to apply for one of the state's last remaining casino licenses.

If Endeka and Valley View were to lose the harness racing license, they also lose the ability to apply for the casino license, rebooting the process for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

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Bill Toland: btoland@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2625.


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