Pa. Suspends Harness Racing at Local Casino

By Michael Rubinkam
|  Friday, Jan 24, 2014  |  Updated 5:32 AM EDT
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State Suspends Harness Racing at Local Casino

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State regulators on Thursday suspended harness racing at a suburban Philadelphia casino, saying it had failed to resolve problems with the track's surface.

Meeting in Hershey, the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission took action against Harrah's Philadelphia Racetrack and Casino.

The track's 2014 racing season is scheduled to begin March 8, but regulators say Harrah's has repeatedly failed to tell them how they plan to address problems with the track.

Drivers have complained about the track's condition, especially in the wake of a serious crash in November in which a driver was thrown from his sulky and trampled by another horse when he landed.

The harness racing commission,  which is part of the state Department of Agriculture, issued an order that said Harrah's 2014 racing schedule will be suspended until the track complies with its demand for information.

Harrah's officials did not immediately return messages from The Associated Press.

It wasn't immediately clear what impact, if any, the commission's suspension order will have on Harrah's casino license. Under Pennsylvania law, the state's five racetrack casino operators are required to maintain a “written live racing agreement with a horsemen's organization” as a condition of their gaming licenses.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, which regulates the casino industry, “will continue to monitor the matter closely,” spokesman Doug Harbach said.

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