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.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Hot Topics
  • 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

  • brown.jpg Boy’s murder case goes to Pennsylvania high court

    The Pennsylvania Supreme Court must decide if a Pennsylvania teen should get a new trial in the death of his father’s pregnant fiancée, who was fatally shot with a youth-model shotgun when he was 11.

    March 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Casino.jpg Casino hearing date now official

    May 8 has been confirmed as the public hearing date for Lawrence Downs Casino and Racing Resort. The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will hear from those who wish to comment on the casino license under consideration for the racetrack/casino complex planned for Mahoning Township.

    March 12, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Agreement to enhance Austintown track project

    Penn National Gaming announced Monday it has signed a key agreement regarding its Austintown race track and casino. The thoroughbred racing track, part of a facility that will include slots-like gambling machines, is scheduled to open in the fall, and the new agreement with the Ohio Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association is being touted as “positive progress” in meeting that deadline.

    March 11, 2014

  • Vogler.jpg Public hearing for casino could be in spring

    The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board could turn its focus to Lawrence Downs Casino and Racing Resort this spring. Lawrence County Commissioner Dan Vogler, who attended the board’s meeting in Harrisburg this week, said he and staff members informally discussed a timetable for the upcoming public hearing on the gaming application submitted by Endeka Entertainment.

    March 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • brown.jpg Our Opinion: After five years, Jordan Brown case continues — sadly for all

    It’s not unusual for newspapers to look back on major news events when key anniversaries come about. So it was that the New Castle News has been running articles on the fifth anniversary of the 2009 slaying of Kenzie Houk, and the subsequent arrest of Jordan Brown for the crime.

    February 25, 2014 1 Photo 9 Stories

  • Elisco.jpg Jordan Brown Case, Five Years Later: Defense attorney learns ‘to expect the unexpected’

    On the morning of Feb. 21, 2009, attorney Dennis Elisco met a boy who changed his life. Thursday marked the five-year anniversary in the case of 16-year-old Jordan Brown.

    February 24, 2014 1 Photo 8 Stories

  • Jordan Brown Case, Five Years Later: After half a decade, intrigue and questions remain

    Unusual aspects of Jordan Brown’s case drew national and international attention. Now 16, Jordan was 11 when he was charged as an adult with two counts of homicide in the fatal shooting of his father’s pregnant fiancée, Kenzie Marie Houk, 26.

    February 24, 2014

House Ads

Are you concerned enough about the Heartbleed bug on the Internet to change all of your social media and website passwords?

Yes. It’s always a good idea to change passwords regularly anyway. I just have so many, I’m not sure where to start.
No. From what I’ve read, companies are still trying to figure out how to fix the flaw. The bad guys will just have access to my NEW passwords, too.
Not sure, but I blame Al Gore. He invented the Internet, right? How’s he going to get us out of this mess?
     View Results