Showboat Re-Files Lawsuit Against Penn National

Showboat Development has reportedly re-filed in Pennsylvania a lawsuit related to the operating rights of slot machines at Charles Town Races. The subsidiary of Harrah's Entertainment sued Penn National Gaming, which owns Charles Town, last year in Nevada. The suit was dismissed Jan. 25 because of a lack of jurisdiction.

Penn National officials said the company has not been served with the lawsuit and has been unable to procure a copy of the complaint. They said, however, there is no reason to believe the lawsuit is substantially from Showboat's previous claim.

That suit, filed in July 2001, alleged that Penn National's operation of 1,500 slot machines at Charles Town in West Virginia constitutes the operation of a casino, thereby triggering an option Showboat holds to manage a casino at the facility. Harrah's has claimed it and former partner Bryant Development had agreed to develop a casino at the racetrack.

The suit also claimed Penn National's acquisition of an 11% minority interest in Charles Town from the BDC Group, a former partner, violated a first right of refusal agreement that Showboat has with BDC Group regarding the sale of any interest in a casino at the track.

Penn National officials have said they intend to fight the suit on the grounds that Charles Town is not defined as a "casino" under West Virginia law. The company has argued that casino gambling is illegal in West Virginia and the slot parlor is not a casino.

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