The Cincinnati region’s newest gambling outlet, Miami Valley Gaming, opens at noon Thursday.
The gambling destination is the new site for Lebanon Raceway combined with 1,600 video slots – making it the region’s first racino and Ohio’s third.
The new operation means 500 new jobs for the region. The 188,000-square-foot complex also will boast four eateries: Cin City Steak and Seafood; Trifecta, a pizza, chili and hamburger restaurant; MV Perks, a coffee shop; and Acres Seasonal Buffet. Harness racing will start in February.
The racino cost $175 million to develop and build.
Starting today, it will compete with Horseshoe Casino in downtown Cincinnati and three riverboat casinos in Southeast Indiana. Miami Valley Racing officials had initially predicted their facility would rake in $125 million during their first year of operations, but have backed off that initial forecast.
Even though the new facility is the region’s fifth slots outlet, racino officials insist there is enough gambling business in the region for them to thrive.
One third of the racino’s gambling revenues are retained by the state Lottery Commission, which is turned over to state education funding.
Ohio’s racinos’ video slots are technically 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 lottery commission.
The opening of Miami Valley means more competition in the gambling sector. The addition of the racino’s slots raises the total number of slots in the Greater Cincinnati gambling market by 23 percent to more than 8,500 .
More competition is on the way: River Downs is holding a press conference on Wednesday for its own slots operation under construction in Anderson Township. That facility is expected to open by next summer with 1,600 slots.
Penn National Gaming Inc. – the parent company of the Hollywood Casinos in Lawrenceburg, Columbus and Toledo – also plans to open two racinos next year in Dayton and suburban Youngstown. Each of those racinos will open with 1,000 slots.
A racino at Northfield Park outside Cleveland is expected to open later this month.
Two racinos already are open: Scioto Downs in Columbus was first in June 2012; ThistleDown in Cleveland opened in April.
A 2011 study commissioned by Gov. John Kasich forecast that Miami Valley would generate $144 million annually, once it was fully operating with all 2,500 slot machines authorized by Ohio law.