HARRISBURG (AP) -- State gambling regulators awarded a slot-machine license to Presque Isle Downs on Wednesday so that its owners can open a gambling hall alongside the horse-racing track being built near Erie.
The conditional license was the sixth awarded by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, coming one month after the board approved conditional licenses for five other racetracks.
After the board's vote, Ted Arneault, the president and chief executive of racetrack owner MTR Gaming Group Inc., said a 2,000-machine slots parlor will open in mid-February, followed by racing in September. The $250 million facility will feature five bars, a buffet and a restaurant overlooking the racetrack, Arneault said.
Arneault said he hopes to capitalize on Erie's attraction as a lakefront tourist spot, and extend its tourism season past summer with the lure of gambling and events like snowmobile racing at the track. He also said he hopes to hold outdoor concerts there.
"I think it opens up Erie for tourism opportunities that have never been there before," he said.
To get the slots license, the board required Chester, W.Va.-based MTR to drop one of its management employees from the application and shed a revenue-sharing deal with a real-estate development company.
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