Governor John Kasich and Penn National Gaming have reached a nonbinding memorandum of understanding. This agreement will allow Penn National to relocate its two horse racing facilities from Grove City and Toledo to Austintown and Dayton respectively. The agreement also allows for VLTs at the two facilities.
Penn National will pay a $75 million relocation fee for each facility, to be paid within 180 days of opening. In addition, the state will receive 33.5% of the VLT revenue. Penn National will also pay a yet to be determined amount to the state’s horse racing industry.
The agreement restricts other gaming facilities from being located within 50 miles of the Columbus and Toledo casinos as well as the relocated horse racing tracks, with exceptions which include the potential move of the Lebanon Raceway from Warren County to Dayton and the potential move of Thistledown Raceway from Cleveland to Akron.
This agreement is contingent on a number of things. Lawmakers must still approve VLTs at Ohio’s horse racing tracks and a pending lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the VLTs must be resolved. Agreement between Penn National and the horse racing industry must be reached and approved by the Racing Commission.
The pending lawsuit was scheduled to hear arguments to dismiss last week. The hearing was postponed and a status conference was held instead. Oral arguments on the motion to dismiss this lawsuit are now scheduled for April 5th.