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Player's Advantage

Meadows casino unaffected by economic woes

| Friday, Sept. 26, 2008

Construction of The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Washington County remains on track, even amid a credit crisis that scuttled plans for Valley View Downs in Lawrence County and nearly sank Pittsburgh's casino.

The Meadows' $175 million permanent casino -- at 350,000 square feet, more than four times larger than the temporary facility now operating -- is scheduled to open in spring.

Pittsburgh's casino is scheduled to open months later, in August.

"The Greater Pittsburgh region will be pleased with its first-ever, state-of-the-art permanent casino," said Mike Graninger, The Meadows' general manager.

The permanent facility is expected to be fully enclosed by the end of October, allowing workers to finish the interior during winter.

The Meadows wasn't hampered by the court challenges and community opposition to other casino projects in Pennsylvania. Since opening in 2007, it has silenced critics who worried it wouldn't make enough money to survive.

The temporary casino has turned a $60 million gross revenue this fiscal year, making it the third-most profitable of the state's seven operating casinos.

Owners of Valley View Downs announced last week that their $455 million financing package disintegrated. Chicago developer Neil Bluhm took over Pittsburgh's project this summer after lenders balked at former owner Don Barden's plans.

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