Penn National & State of Ohio Agree to Relocate Racetracks
By Community | March 19, 2012
Penn National Gaming, Inc. have announced it has reached an agreement with the State of Ohio that will help pave the way toward the relocation of its two Ohio racetracks and the development of new approximately $200 million racetrack/video lottery terminal (VLT) facilities (inclusive of a $50 million license fee) in Dayton and in Austintown (located in the Mahoning Valley).
The non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Company and the office of Ohio Gov. John Kasich requires Penn National to pay a $75 million relocation fee per VLT facility within 180 days after each facility opens. Penn National previously announced its intent to relocate Beulah Park from the Columbus suburb of Grove City to Austintown and Raceway Park from Toledo to Dayton. The MOU contemplates Penn National paying the State 33.5% from VLT revenues as well as a yet to be determined amount to the Ohio horse racing industry. Talks between Penn National and the thoroughbred and harness horsemen’s organizations are ongoing. In addition, the agreement restricts any other gaming facility from being located within 50 miles of Penn National’s Columbus and Toledo casinos, as well as its relocated tracks, with certain exceptions.
“This agreement is a significant step toward the development of two new first-class racing and gaming facilities that will create thousands of construction jobs and more than 3,000 direct and indirect jobs, and bring the excitement of horse racing and VLTs to two areas of the state that are now underserved with this type of entertainment option,” said Tim Wilmott, President and Chief Operating Officer of Penn National Gaming.
“We appreciate the efforts of the Governor’s Office in allowing us to reach this milestone and the administration’s commitment to helping us gain the remaining approvals for relocating our Ohio racetracks,” Wilmott said. “We’re also appreciative for the support of the legislative delegations from Dayton and the Mahoning Valley as well as the local elected officials and local business communities there.”
The MOU assumes final state authorization of VLTs at Ohio racetracks and a favorable resolution of the current litigation challenging the establishment of VLT facilities in Ohio. In addition, the MOU is expressly conditioned on a definitive agreement with representatives of the thoroughbred and harness horsemen that is satisfactory to Penn National and approved by the Racing Commission.
by Ismail Uddin