Penn National announces details of Ohio plan
February 10, 2011
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At Thursday's meeting of the Ohio State Racing Commission, Penn National Gaming announced its intention to seek approvals to relocate its two Ohio racetracks if the state proceeds with plans to authorize video lottery terminals (VLTs) at Ohio racetracks. Penn National also presented details of its proposed investment and development plans in new facilities as well as the employment, tax and other sustainable economic benefits in the state should it be granted the right to relocate the two tracks.
Under its proposal, Penn National would relocate Raceway Park, a harness-racing facility in Toledo, to a 186-acre site in Austintown, just west of Youngstown in north-central Mahoning County near the intersection of Interstate 80 and Route 11. Penn National’s second track, Beulah Park, a thoroughbred track in the Columbus suburb of Grove City, would be relocated to the 125-acre site of an abandoned Delphi Automotive plant at the intersection of Needmore Road and Wagoner Ford Road near Northridgeon the northern end of Dayton. Penn National has secured options on both of the proposed development sites.
Penn National is prepared to invest approximately $400 million, inclusive of any upfront license fees, to construct two first-class racing and VLT facilities, and the projects are expected to create approximately 1,500 direct and indirect jobs in both the Mahoning Valley and Miami Valley areas (total of 3,000), as well as approximately 1,000 construction jobs at each location (total of 2,000).
Penn National’s request for relocation and plan for new investment was developed following an extensive analysis of the status of the racetracks’ challenging current operations and prospects, the development underway of casinos in Toledo and Columbus, and the potential for state approval of VLTs at Ohio’s seven racetracks.
In his presentation today to the Ohio State Racing Commission, Penn National Gaming President and Chief Operating Officer, Tim Wilmott, described the economic development benefits that would be created if the relocation of the racetracks were approved, “We determined that if Ohio implements a sensible plan for VLTs at its racetracks, we can strengthen Ohio’s racing industry, create jobs and economic development and maximize revenues to the state by relocating our existing facilities from Columbus and Toledo, where we are currently developing full-scale casinos as authorized by the voters in 2009.
“Under this plan, we would bring significant economic development and job creation to the Mahoning Valley and Miami Valley regions, which is in addition to the nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars we are currently investing in the new Columbus and Toledo facilities. Furthermore, the relocation of Penn National’s tracks would annually increase Ohio’s gaming taxes by approximately $210 million, based on the tax rate and upfront license fee previously proposed by former Governor Ted Strickland, and our proposal is expected to boost annual racing purses by over $18 million.”
Penn National also committed to offering current employees of Raceway Park and Beulah Park priority opportunities for jobs in the Toledo and Columbus casinos, both of which are anticipated to open in 2012. The Company also intends to work with local and community officials in Toledo and Grove City to determine the best use of the racetrack properties. Both tracks would continue operating in their current locations through their 2011 race meetings and until such time that VLTs are authorized for placement at Ohio racetracks. (Penn National Gaming)