View Full Version : No Casino Gettysburg, Round 2!?

07-31-2008, 04:04 PM
LeVan says he’s learned from failure

Times Staff Writer
Published: Monday, July 28, 2008 3:40 AM EDT
The last time a casino was proposed in Adams County, the project was rejected by state gaming regulators largely because of two reasons: opposition, and a feared impact of Maryland slots.

If another opportunity arises to obtain a gaming license, Gettysburg businessman David LeVan believes that he can conquer both obstacles — something that he failed to do in 2006, when he was the top investor behind the controversial Crossroads Gaming Resort and Spa.

LeVan vows to do things differently.

“I learned an awful lot about this industry as a result of my previous efforts,” says LeVan. “I’m not surprised by the positive impact that (gaming) has had from a business success standpoint. And I’m not surprised by the little that you hear in terms of all the negatives that had been raised about what was going to happen to the localities where these facilities were proposed…in terms of crime, suicide, bankruptcy and all of that. Statistics show that a lot of those (concerns) were clearly overstated.”

LeVan, owner of Battlefield Harley-Davidson in Straban Township just east of Gettysburg, recently announced that he’s interested in obtaining a gaming license if one becomes available. A gaming facility in Adams County, LeVan envisions, would produce up to 1000 new jobs and generate $15-$20 million in annual gaming tax revenue, once the complex is in full operation.

“I believe that eventually, gaming will come to Adams County,” he says.

LeVan envisions a $400-$500 million complex, including a horse track, gaming floor, restaurants and shops somewhere in southern Adams County near the Maryland border, on a site of no less than 200 acres.

“In any business decision like this, it’s all about location, location, location,” says LeVan. “Obviously, the closer that you are to the Maryland border, the closer you are to the untapped population base of the Washington-Baltimore market.”

The Crossroads project, planned for the U.S. 15/30 interchange in Straban Township just east of Gettysburg, drew national attention given its proposed proximity to the Gettysburg Battlefield.

A clear — sometimes heated — line divided Crossroads’ supporters and opponents.

The debate pitted those who trumpeted Crossroads’ economic boost against those sickened by the idea of a casino near one of America’s treasured battlegrounds.

“First, we’re addressing the location of this project, and getting it away from the battlefield to take away that attention and the local opposition based on the battlefield itself. We’re taking that out of the equation,” says LeVan.

Last year, the state’s Gaming Control Board released a report disclosing the reasoning behind its Dec. 2006 denial of the Crossroads gaming license. In its own words, the seven-member panel called public opposition “overwhelming.”

“It was the concentrated, sustained opposition that was very organized in Gettysburg which was very compelling for me,” board member Mary DiGiacomo Collins, who is now the panel’s chairperson, said at the time.

Now, LeVan intends to get out of the gates quickly. The group that supported the Crossroads project — Pro Casino Adams County — has already re-formed.

“We’re going to be proactive,” he says. “The last time, we didn’t get out in the public because we really didn’t have the facts, and we allowed the opposition to gain a groundswell of strength.”

The Crossroads project depended on the Baltimore-Washington D.C. metro area for 65 percent of its projected $277.55 million in annual revenues.

“If you look at the location of the 14 possible gaming operations in the state…what makes them so successful is access to population,” says LeVan. “If you look around the state of Pennsylvania, you can find one place where there is a huge access to a population base, the Baltimore-Washington market, and it’s really at the moment totally un-accessed by any gaming operation in the state of Pennsylvania.”

Crossroads was denied because the Gaming Control Board feared that a 25 percent drop-off in patronage would ensue if Maryland slots were legalized.

“The situation is clearer today than it was back in 2006 when the Gaming Control Board was reviewing the Crossroads application,” says LeVan, adding that Maryland residents are voting on a referendum this November to decide the fate of slots in their state.

“As part of that process, they’re also considering the amount of machines associated with a project…and the location of those facilities has also been more clearly defined, so it could now be very easily analyzed as to the impact that Maryland gaming could have on this facility,” continues LeVan. “I’m very confident, based on what I know about the Maryland referendum that even if it does pass and Maryland does start casino gambling, that the level of competition that was feared by the Gaming Control Board back in 2006 does not exist.”

No gaming licenses are currently available in Pennsylvania, but three gaming operators are reportedly dealing with legal and financial troubles. If any of those projects flounder, LeVan — backed by Silver Point Capital — intends to seek those licenses. Two projects in western Pennsylvania, Valley View Downs and the Majestic Star in Pittsburgh, are struggling with finances. The Mount Airy project in the Poconos, led by Louis DeNaples, is also in limbo as the 67-year-old Scranton millionaire has been tied to organized crime.

Brian Wolle
08-01-2008, 01:07 AM
Oh -this creep is also the one brought all those incredbly obnoxious motorcycles to G-burg to tie up traffic and make loud noise.

Well, sure. First they allowed all those motels and these opportunists see a chance for themselves to cash in. They do not give a hot crap about the sanctity of the field. It's all to fatten their wallets. Let's pray Md gets slots and dispells this threat.

It's not like the brass band fest or the gun show. These people want to encroach on the little period look that's left.

He should wake up. With the economy in the tank, no one is gambling as much -I would not think.

If we need to protest with signs and the whole deal, I'm in. Right in front of his chopper store. Let them screw with us. (I'm deleting my next thought before someone else does)

Thanks for posting this. I'm sure, Civil War News has something on it.

08-08-2008, 11:12 AM
“In any business decision like this, it’s all about location, location, location,” says LeVan. “Obviously, the closer that you are to the Maryland border, the closer you are to the untapped population base of the Washington-Baltimore market.”

Untapped population????????? Um, does he realize that there are already casinos and race tracks much closer and more accessible to the Balt./DC area than Adams County would be???? Like in my hometown (Dover, DE), Wilmington and Harrington, DE, Philly, Charlestown, WV, etc. Not to mention that Balt. already HAS a racetrack.

Jim Mayo
08-08-2008, 12:30 PM
They could turn the new visitor center into a gaming facility.

Went there at the 145th and was very disappointed with what they were interpreting and how they were doing it. I liked the old one much better. Don't think I will be going back to Greedysburg any time soon.

09-02-2008, 05:13 PM
Mr. Levan et al (including the author of the piece)
It is the Maryland state line, not a border. A border separates countries, a line delineates two states. Just a pet peeve.:)