It's been nearly two years since a group of Philadelphia-area investors led by insurance executive Manuel Stamatakis and Penn National Gaming Inc. applied for a slots license at a harness-racing track in western Pennsylvania.
Yet Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board officials are still waiting for information needed to complete their investigation of Endeka Entertainment L.P., Gaming Board chairman William H. Ryan Jr. said Thursday at a budget hearing in Harrisburg.
"I will also tell you that the board is hopeful that we can make a decision by the end of this calendar year," Ryan said in response to a question from Michael H. O'Brien (D., Phila.) about when the state could expect to get some tax revenue from that proposed casino in Lawrence County.
"One could make the argument that [the license] is withering on the vine," O'Brien said.
The board was apparently already on the case.
On Tuesday, the Gaming Board's chief counsel, R. Douglas Sherman, sent a letter to Endeka's Scranton attorneys asking for a "status update from Endeka concerning its compliance with requests for aditional information including applications and financing."
An Endeka representative "with authority to provide a full factual update" should appear at the board's April 29 meeting, the letter said.
Penn National Gaming, of Wyomissing, Pa., is in charge of developing and managing the project, according to an annoucement in May 2013, when Endeka sumitted its applications for the state's final "racino" license.
A spokesman for Penn National, which in September opened a slots parlor in Massachussetts and already owns a casino in Pennsylvania, did not have an immediate comment.
That May 2013 announcement said Stamatakis was the initial managing partner.
"Our investors think this is a very good project and would like to see this concluded so the people in Lawrence County get the casino they've been waiting a long time for," said Stamatakis, who owns slightly more than 18 percent of Endeka.
Stamatakis's major investment partners - builder Peter DePaul, lawyer Thomas Leonard, Flyers owner Ed Snider, and the Melissa Silver Trust, a charitable family trust controlled by the late Lewis Katz's daughter - each own 17.988 percent of Endeka
The remaining 10 percent is owned by a group 10 investors, the largest holding 2.369 percent.
The proposed $225 million casino in Mahoning Township, Lawrence Downs, would have 1,250 slot machines, 41 table games, and 10 poker table, in addition to harness racing. The group has a provisional harness-racing license, which is contingent on the receipt of a slots license.