Edited press releaseSix racetracks and five non-racing companies were awarded permanent slot-machine licenses Dec. 20 by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.The tracks, granted conditional slots licenses this fall, are allowed a maximum of 5,000 gaming devices. Philadelphia Park Casino and Racetrack opened Dec. 19 with 1,996 machines, while Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, a harness track, opened Nov. 14 with 1,080 machines.As for the other tracks, Presque Isle Downs near Erie plans to open Feb. 15 with 1,600 machines, and Hollywood Casino at Penn National is scheduled to open Jan. 1, 2008, with 3,000 machines. Two harness tracks--Harrah's Chester Downs and The Meadows--plan to open for gaming in January 2007 and May 2007, respectively.Five non-track licenses went to HSP Gaming and Philadelphia Entertainment & Development Partners in Philadelphia; PITG Gaming in Pittsburgh; Mount Airy in the Pocono Mountains; and Sands Bethworks Gaming in Bethlehem.Slots were legalized in July 2004 under the Pennsylvania Race Horse Development and Gaming Act. The conditional racetrack slots licenses were awarded first."Creating a new industry is a complex and arduous journey, but I can now stand with my fellow board members and announce to the citizens of Pennsylvania that they are a step closer to significant property tax relief, additional jobs, and a reinvigorated horse-racing industry," gaming board chairman Tad Decker said.