While booming nowadays, having a harness racing license in the early 2000s was not considered a wise business move, as the sport’s popularity was declining. The tide changed in 2004 when the state legislature passed the Gaming Act.
This created an opportunity for a combined casino and racetrack at the abandoned Sun Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. along the Delaware River. The timing was perfect, as Chester was looking to develop its waterfront.
Attorney George Miller, former House member Joe Lashinger, and developer Kevin Flynn saw the potential and teamed up to create the Chester Downs development plan, which led to Harrah’s.
Since then, Harrah’s has become a significant revenue generator for Chester, contributing around a third of the city’s revenue. Delaware County Councilman John McBlain attributes much of this success to the location.
“The water is a great location,“ he said. “Going back, that was the reason why the old Sun Shipyard was identified as a harness race track.“
Read more about Harrah’s anniversary in The Daily Times by clicking here.