Magna Appeals Licensing of Proposed Erie Track

Magna Entertainment's Pennsylvania subsidiary has appealed a decision by regulators to grant MTR Gaming a license to build Presque Isle Downs, a Thoroughbred racetrack proposed for the Erie area.

MEC Pennsylvania Racing filed the appeal Dec. 26 in Commonwealth Court, the Associated Press reported. MEC Pennsylvania said the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission granted the license in September without offering other racing companies a chance to challenge the application.

MEC owns The Meadows, a Standardbred track south of Pittsburgh, Pa. The Meadows is located about an hour from Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort, the West Virginia racino owned by MTR Gaming.

MEC Pennsylvania also claims Presque Isle Downs would hurt the state's four other racetracks and would not be profitable.

"Who knows how long this will delay things?" said Greg Rubino, an Erie real estate agent for MTR Gaming.

New interest in racetracks in Pennsylvania has been generated in recent months with the possibility of slot machines. MTR Gaming has said it has not been influenced by discussions about gaming.

MTR Gaming on Dec. 23 said it planned to buy Scioto Downs, an Ohio harness track, for $19 million. MTR Gaming hopes to cross-promote the track with Mountaineer, and also plans to capitalize on racetrack gaming should it be legalized in Ohio.