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Player's Advantage

Barden to appear before state gambling board

| Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board plans to ask Don Barden at a hearing Thursday about how he will pay for his North Shore casino.

Barden will have to get the board's approval for a major overhaul of his financing plan, which has grown in size from $400 million in December 2006 to about $780 million.

The board must approve new investors, including one who already has invested in a Philadelphia casino and another who's leading an investment team seeking a casino license for a facility outside the city in King of Prussia.

Construction on the North Shore casino slowed last week when Barden told his contractors he couldn't pay them for work done since March.

The casino is scheduled to open in May 2009. To complete the casino on budget, Barden is asking the board to allow him to hold off building an amphitheater, ballroom and Ohio River dock that were part of the application that won him the $50 million casino license.

The board plans to hear a request for a conditional slots license from Centaur Gaming Inc., the only owner of a harness-racing license in Pennsylvania that doesn't have a casino license.

The Indiana-based firm told regulators in May they needed a slots license by this month or the financing package for their facility, Valley View Downs in Lawrence County, could fall apart.

The conditional license would allow Centaur to open a slots parlor before the permanent license is granted. Since Valley View Downs is the only facility eligible for the last racetrack casino license, the board is likely to grant the request.

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