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Dover Downs Gaming & Entertainment Inc. Message Board

  • bigfry_52 bigfry_52 Jul 18, 2006 10:51 PM Flag

    S&P Downgrading due to PA Slots

    Today, Standard & Poors downgraded their investment opinion on West Virinia Tracks due to the impending competition from PA Racinos

    How many days before the DELEWARE Tracks are downgraded?

    WHEELING -- Standard & Poor's Rating Services has downgraded the credit rating for Wheeling Island Gaming Inc. to a B+ with negative implications, citing imminent competition from slot machines at Pennsylvania racetracks.

    Bob Marshall, general manager of Wheeling Island Racetrack and Gaming Center, has long predicted his customer base will be eroded when Pennsylvania comes online.

    "Sixty percent of our business resides in the Pittsburgh market, and they drive past The Meadows to get to us,'' he said Monday.

    For years, Marshall and other West Virginia casino executives have been pushing for table games to mitigate the impact, but so far, they have had little success with the Legislature.

    The Meadows, a harness racing track in Meadowlands, Pa., is about a 30-minute drive east of Wheeling. It's one of six Pennsylvania tracks seeking licensing under a 2-year-old law that allows 14 gambling parlors across the state to have slot machines.

    In February, Marshall warned Wheeling Island workers could be laid off once the track begins to feel the pinch of competition, though the timing and number of layoffs remains to be seen.

    Opening dates for some Pennsylvania properties, meanwhile, could be delayed by an ongoing dispute over the state's tax rate.

    The Pennsylvania Revenue Department recently said it planned to enforce a $10 million minimum municipal tax on slot machine revenues. That would likely be far larger than what the racetracks would owe under the 2 percent municipal tax rate that they say was intended by the law.

    Gambling regulators may award licenses by October

    to six racetracks, which

    were practically guaranteed casino licenses in the 2004 slots law.

    The other licenses may be

    issued as early as December.

    The Meadows and Presque Isle Downs, being built near Erie, Pa., by West Virginia-based MTR Gaming Group Inc., are both protesting the $10 million minimum tax.

    Privately held Wheeling Island Gaming has about 2,400 slot machines. It's owned by Delaware North Companies Gaming & Entertainment Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Delaware North Companies Inc.
    LINK to article:

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