NEW CASTLE (KDKA) — The Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission has approved a new operator to take over a Lawrence County horse-racing track and casino project.

American Harness Tracks got approval this morning to take over the 250-acre Valley View Downs & Casino Project which has been hit by financial problems for a number of years.

A spokesperson for the commission told KDKA-TV’s Ralph Iannotti earlier today: “This project is consistent with the best interest of harness racing in Pennsylvania.”

Today’s approval is the first step forward in reviving the stalled project.

“I think it’s still going to be a long process from here, but, I think it’s still going to be profitable for the city by the end of the whole thing,” Nick Sperdute said.

The company will now have to get the approval from the state Gaming Commission for a casino license.

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Ralph Iannotti