New Castle News

Hot Topics

September 6, 2012

Harness racing showing resurgence in Ohio

DAYTON, Ohio — The Ohio harness racing industry is showing signs of resurgence three months after the opening of the state’s first racetrack with video lottery terminals, according to some in the racing industry.

Attendance at harness racing events is up, fans are betting more and the number of Ohio-bred mares is expected to rise, the Dayton Daily News reported.

Tracks in Ohio slipped in attendance after Pennsylvania and Indiana approved video lottery gambling at racetracks in 2006, said Jerry Knappenberger, general manager of the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association. But many in the industry think the addition of video lottery terminals in Ohio will help draw more people to Ohio’s tracks and increase those tracks’ purses.

Scioto Downs in Columbus was the first to get terminals this year, and purses are up there from a range of $2,000 to $4,000 per race in 2011 to $4,000 to $15,000 this year. Betting on live races also is up about 35 percent over last year, said Stacy Cahill, Scioto Downs’ general manager.

“People who have never seen a race are going down to the track to see what’s going on,” Cahill said.

The Ohio Lottery Commission is reviewing five additional applications from racetrack owners to become video lottery terminal sales agents. The applications include one for Lebanon Raceway from the Miami Valley Gaming and Racing LLC., a joint venture of Delaware North Companies Gaming and Entertainment and Churchill Downs Inc.

“We’ve all been waiting for so many years for slots to save racing in Ohio,” Vickie McNabb, director of the Lebanon Raceway track for the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association, said.

Penn National Gaming Inc. also has applied for the video lottery terminals for its proposed Hollywood Slots at Dayton Raceway.

“I think everybody involved in the industry believes that allowing the video lottery terminals will draw people, who will also watch and bet on the races,” Penn National spokesman Bob Tenenbaum said Wednesday.

The American Horse Council has estimated that Ohio horse racing was once a $900 million agricultural-based industry that supported 25,000 jobs directly, involving more than 250,000 Ohioans. But the number of industry jobs fell to 15,000 during the past decade, Knappenberger said.

Pennsylvania and Indiana racetracks have used video lottery revenue to increase the purse money paid out to owners of winning horses and to increase the number of horses bred in those states. States with expanded gambling have seen increases in horse training and breeding operations, and in investments in farming and livestock and in the need for veterinary services to handle foal production, according to the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Associaton.

The number of standardbred mares bred in Ohio to produce foals for harness racing is already increasing after falling from more than 2,591 in 2003 to 687 in 2010, Knappenberger said. He said breeders estimate the number of mares that will be bred in Ohio this year to produce foals for harness racing could be as high as 1,400, with the anticipation of video lottery terminal revenue increasing purses.

Robert Schmitz, chairman of the Ohio State Racing Commission, warns that it’s too soon to predict the full impact of the lottery terminals on the racing industry, but says he is encouraged.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Hot Topics
  • Our Opinion: New study suggests problem with some state shale gas wells

    A recent study of leaks from shale gas wells raises more questions than it answers. And because of the growing presence of shale gas wells in Pennsylvania, it’s essential that both government and industry provide clarity.

    July 9, 2014

  • 08.jpg Gaming board asked to take a chance here

    Lawrence County deserves a chance, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board was Thursday. All seven board members, their staff, hearing officer Linda Lloyd and 200 to 225 others attended the board’s public hearing at the Mahoning Township Community Center.

    May 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Casino.jpg Area residents, groups to speak at casino hearing

    Some 55 individuals and organizations have registered to speak tomorrow at the Lawrence Downs Casino and Racing Resort Public Input Hearing. The list was released yesterday by the Pennsylvania Gaming Board, which will conduct the hearing at 10 a.m. at the Community Center in Mahoning Township on Route 224.

    May 7, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Austintown racing complex anticipates fall opening

    Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course will open in the fall. No specific date has been set, but work is progressing on several fronts on 186 acres in Austintown, Ohio. The site — less than 30 miles from New Castle — is accessible from Ohio Routes 46 and 11 and Interstate 80.

    May 7, 2014

  • gavel.jpg Holdout property owners file for injunction

    Holdout landowners are asking Commonwealth Court to declare that forced pooling violates the state constitution.

    May 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • gavel.jpg Holdout landowners retain Pittsburgh attorney; ask hearings be postponed

    A Pittsburgh attorney is asking that next month’s hearings on forced pooling be postponed. Atty. Omar Abuhejleh also filed a motion with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Friday allowing the affected landowners to formally intervene in the case filed by Hilcorp Energy Co.

    April 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dangers of fracking the topic at Villa Maria

    Public health concerns about fracking must be addressed, a nurse practitioner told approximately 150 people at Villa Maria on Thursday.

    April 26, 2014

  • Bobosky.jpg Gas holdouts unconvinced of safety

    When Suzanne Matteo and her husband, Martin, bought their house on four acres in Pulaski Township they had a plan. They would grow a huge vegetable garden, raise lots of flowers and a few chickens and enjoy the fresh air and quiet.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • gavel.jpg Anti fracking group waits for answer to its letter

    More than 20 state environmental groups are asking that March 25 and 26 hearings on proposed “forced pooling” be postponed. They say more time is necessary to allow members of the public to voice their opinions.
     

    March 18, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • Hilcorp_Energy.jpg Hilcorp seeks to force drilling on reluctant landowners

    A hearing has been set on a request to force local landowners to allow gas and oil drilling. Hilcorp Corp., a Texas firm with multiple well pads in the area, is asking for the so-called “forced pooling.”

    March 14, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Poll

The Steelers opened training camp this weekend. How do you see them faring this season?

Super Bowl
Division champs
Wild card team
Missing playoffs for a third straight year
     View Results