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GRANTVILLE, PA-Wyomissing-based Penn National Gaming Inc. formally submits its application for a category one slot machine license to be located at its Penn National Race Course here. Today is the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s deadline for all 14 of the state gaming licenses that will be granted by the end of 2006. For previous coverage, click here.

This application relates to one of seven licenses to be granted for racetracks in the state. Penn National proposes a racino, or integrated racing and gaming facility, called the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course. The initial budget is estimated at $262 million, which includes $212 million for construction of a five-story, 365,000-sf facility with a capacity for 3,000 slot machines, the purchase of an initial 2,000 slot machines, plus the $50-million license fee.

In addition to space for 3,000 slot machines, the facility is designed to contain a variety of dining and entertainment concessions, including a three-restaurant food court with a sports bar and track-side dining. There will also be bar and lounge areas to serve both the race track venue and the gaming level along with a five-story parking garage with valet parking.

If the license is granted, the company plans to immediately raze the existing racetrack facilities and begin construction of the new integrated structure. Construction is expected to take about 12 months. This is part of a long-term master plan for the Grantville track that is patterned after the company’s Charles Town, WV facility. The Grantville master plan includes the potential for an additional casino space that would bring the total slots capacity to 5,000 machines and add a buffet, hotel and conference center, retail outlets, an entertainment center and additional parking deck.

In a statement, Peter M. Carlino, Penn National’s CEO, calls Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course one of his company’s “highest priority development projects.” The track, located on approximately 600 acres 15 miles northeast of Harrisburg, 100 miles west of Philadelphia, and 200 miles east of Pittsburgh, is one of just two thoroughbred racetracks in the state. It has offered live racing since 1972.

On Dec. 22, a Penn National spokesman told GlobeSt.com the company was also exploring options for participation in an application for a category two license for a proposed standalone casino in Allentown. Calls regarding the status of that application were not returned by deadline.

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