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Pa. off-track betting parlor reopening

March 24, 1999|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - It's off to the races today at the Penn National Off-Track Wagering facility after Penn National Race Course and horse owners settled a dispute that had closed it and five other betting parlors for the past five weeks.

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The owners of the Grantville, Pa., race course and the Pennsylvania Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association reached an agreement Tuesday over how purses will be shared. The terms of the five-year agreement were not released.

The agreement means about 55 employees at the Chambersburg parlor on Bedington Boulevard will return to work today, Cary Shirley, one of the managers, said Wednesday.

"We've always kept in contact with our employees to keep them informed of the status of the situation," Shirley said. Workers were eligible for unemployment benefits during the dispute, he said.

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Shirley said the business will reopen at 11:30 a.m. The off-track wagering facility is open every day except Christmas.

"We are very happy to be back with full-car simulcasting racing," said Fred Lipkin, Penn National director of publicity. He said the dispute idled about 750 Penn National employees at the track and the off-track betting parlors.

When the previous agreement between the track and the horsemen's association expired at midnight on Feb. 15, simulcast racing had to be suspended because of Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission regulations.

Lipkin said earlier that about $21 million was wagered at the Chambersburg parlor in 1997. That did not include receipts from the restaurant, bar and other services.

Lipkin said he had no estimate on how much business was lost during the shutdown, which also affected parlors in York, Lancaster, Reading, Williamsport and Johnstown.

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