The Ohio State Racing Commission listened to Penn National Gaming’s request for transferring racetrack licenses from Beulah Park in Grove City to Austintown, and from Raceway Park in Toledo to Dayton. The commissioners were not impressed and have asked Penn to return next week with revised plans.
The Commission’s biggest concern was a perceived lack of emphasis on live horse racing. Commissioners felt that Penn was too focused on VLTs and simulcast racing and that their plan didn’t do enough to promote the horse racing industry in Ohio. Seating was a major issue, as it has been for plans for the relocated Lebanon racetrack. Penn presented plans for the Austintown racino and indicated the Dayton racino was very similar. The plans for the Austintown racino called for less than 1,000 seats including 498 indoor seats. This was troublesome to the commission especially since the possibility of winter racing exists. Beulah Park racing is October to April. Penn officials argued that interest in thoroughbred racing has declined recently and the size of the track was proper for the market.
Preliminary work is under way at both sites. Penn National is hopeful to begin construction in April.