Alexander Coolidge reports:
Miami Valley Gaming general manager Jim Simms predicted his racino will rake in $125 million in gambling revenue during its first year of operation.
- Photos: Miami Valley Gaming
Miami Valley Gaming is the relocated former Lebanon Raceway that will include video slots – making it the region’s first racino. Greater Cincinnati already boasts three riverboat casinos in Southeast Indiana and the new downtown Horseshoe Casino.
“We think there’s room enough in the market to compete effectively,” Simms said during a hard hat tour for local media Tuesday. The $175 million facility is slated to open Dec. 12.
If Miami Valley is able to hit its revenue target, it would mean $40 million a year for Ohio schools. The Ohio Lottery Commission retains 33.5 percent of racino revenues, which is earmarked for education.
The latest addition means more competition gambling region. Miami Valley’s slots mean a 23 percent increase in total slots to more than 8,500 in Southwest Ohio and Southeast Indiana serving Greater Cincinnati.
Ohio’s racinos’ video slots are technically called video lottery terminals. Like slot machines the devices have a random number generator, but each is connected to a central computer system subject to regulatory supervision by the Ohio Lottery Commission.
More is competition in the region and state is on the way: River Downs is holding a press conference for its own slots operation under construction in Anderson Township. That facility will open by summer 2014 with 1,600 slots.
Penn National Gaming Inc. – the parent company of the Hollywood Casinos in Lawrenceburg, Columbus and Toledo – plans to open two racinos next year in Dayton and suburban Youngstown. Each of those racinos will open with 1,000 slots apiece.
Simms said Miami Valley hopes Ohio someday allows the racetracks to add table games in the future, but acknowledged such a move would require a change in the state’s constitution.
Most of the 1,600 video slot machines are installed, but finishing work continues on the interior of the 188,000 square foot facility. Construction crews were hard at work on the casino floor’s interior finishes and building out on-site restaurants.
The new facility and another slot operation slated to open in December at Northfield Park outside Cleveland will bring the total number of Ohio racinos to four. Scioto Downs in Columbus was the first opening in June of 2012, while ThistleDown in Cleveland opened in April.
The new operation means 500 new jobs for the region. Once completed, the complex will also boast four eateries: Cin City Steak and Seafood; Trifecta, a pizza, chili and hamburger restaurant; MV Perks, a coffee shop; and Acres Seasonal Buffet.
A 2011 gambling revenue study commissioned by Gov. John Kasich forecast the former Lebanon Raceway track would generate $144 million annually once a slot operation was established. The study envisioned the facility operating with the full 2,500 slot machines authorized under Ohio law.