06/17/2010 11:00PM

Penn National sues its OTB partner


Penn National Gaming Inc. has sued its partner in a harness track and several off-track betting parlors in New Jersey, claiming that board members representing the partner have blocked efforts to build an off-track betting parlor in the southern part of the state.

The lawsuit alleges that the board members, who represent Greenwood Racing, the company that owns Philadelphia Park, "have used multiple delay tactics culminating in outright refusal" to develop the OTB, which would be located at the old site of Garden State Park in Camden County. The site is in the Philadelphia metropolitan area on the New Jersey side of the Delaware River.

The suit alleges that the three board members have sought to block the project to protect Greenwood's interests in the Philadelphia and South Jersey area, a list of properties that includes Philadelphia Park, Atlantic City Race Course, and several off-track betting parlors.

"Greenwood has consistently worked to delay and ultimately kill a project that they knew would compete against their wholly-owned [properties]," said Eric Schippers, a spokesman for Penn National, in a release.

The partnership, called Pennwood, was given the right to open four OTBs in South Jersey by a law passed in 2001. The partnership, which owns Freehold Raceway in Freehold, N.J., already operates two OTBs.

Legal counsel for Greenwood did not immediately return a phone call on Friday.