Friday, April 21, 2006


Did anyone see this latest story on the slots revenue that is supposed to be coming to Erie County. Now, it seems instead of paying out $10 million annually as originally promised, there is some loophole, which the PA Dept. of Revenue is claiming will allow allow MTR to pay as little as $3 million based on a percentage of revenue. Of course, to make things even odder, MTR seems to be saying there is almost no way the loophole thing will stand up. And then, they're saying it's all irrelevant because they don't even have their permit, yet. I guess there are some hearings today.

First of all, if they don't expect to get the permit, why are they building? From their latest financial reports, it doesn't seem like they have money to burn. Second, if they didn't bring up this loophole argument against the $10 million, who did? And why is the PA Dept. of Revenue supporting it. Read the article. It's really bizarre.

This whole MTR thing has stunk from the get go and continues to. Did you ever see the Simpsons episode "Marge vs. the Monorail." Apparently Conan O'Brien, a former Simpsons writer, claims this is his favorite episode. Anyways, this whole MTR racetrack thing has always reminded me of the shenanigans the occurred on that episode. From the monorail song:
Abe Simpson: Were you sent here by the devil?
Lyle Lanley (monorail proprietor) : No, good sir, I'm on the level.

On a lighter note, it's good to see the City of Erie Streets Dept. hard at work these days. They did a wonderful job filling in the deteriorating spots on West 40th street. And they even fixed the broken guard rail/fence by the golf course on 40th and Cherry. Sometimes it's good to have influential neighbors.




Stan Langerhaus said...

Ralph, I read that article this morning as well. I also did not understand why the PA Dept of Revenue was taking the position it did. Should be interesting to see what the effects of the slots are three years from now.

Speaking of slots, do you know anyone who really enjoys playing slot machines and will go out of their way to get to them? It's like that old joke about Celine Dion -- "I don't know a single person who owns a Celine Dion CD, but somehow she has sold 100 Million of them."

Same way I feel about slot machines.

G said...

I think it's a little fishy that MTR has to borrow $125 million to finish Presque Isle Downs AND pay the State its $50 million dollar slots fee. If they can't afford to build it that's one thing but having to borrow the Gaming License fee??? Something is REALLY amiss here and unfortunately we live in Erie so no TV station will do some serious digging.

Something is rotten in Denmark and Denmark is MTR! (Maybe they ARE the mafia!?)

Ralph said...

I think slots appeal mainly to people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder...

DocTorDee said...

It's been a ridiculous story from the start, hasn't it? The IP property, Rubino, Filippi, Aiko, Summit...

Last I heard, MTR was seeking a permit to enable round-the-clock construction on a project that doesn't even have a license yet.

They MUST know that license approval is a foregone conclusion. I can't imagine going forward on this kind of deal on pure speculation. Harrisburg will support it if it brings in revenue, especially if it can get politicians off the hook for school taxes (something I believe will NOT happen, in my lifetime, as a result of legalized gambling).

And guess what? MTR is building their lovely racetrack and casino next to Garbage Mountain. Isn't that a kicker? People will come from miles around to see famous The Casino Next to a Mountain of Garbage. That's insane.

But they'll definitely have easier access to Ohio money from I-90, eh?

And that's the point of this comment: MTR wanted to build a casino in Erie at practically any cost, before anybody else did. That's why it's been such farce.

MTR saw the money that people from Ohio and points west were spending at the casinos in Niagara Falls and Salamanca and they said to themselves, "Hell, we can give them Flatlanders a casino that's way closer to Ohio than Niagara Falls or Salamanca."

They cut a deal in Harrisburg that was good enough for them to start spending money. then the shovels hit the dirt.

Don't look now, but Ohio legislators are talking about legalizing slot machines in their state...this could reall turn Presque Isle Downs into another Commodore Downs.

Prediction: It all depends on whether Ohio legalizes slots/gambling. If they do, MTR is is trouble and will have to pull its money from local pockets--even as they compete with Salamanca and Niagara Falls.

If Ohio stays out of the game, MTR will have some success and will turn a profit; however, the operation will never generate the windfall that many are hoping for, and taxpayers will not be relieved of their school tax burden as a result of this tax-relief "gamble."

And by the way, the casino is going to turn the State Street Exit into a big frigging mess.