New Castle News

Hot Topics

March 28, 2013

Ohio’s demands to delay Penn National progress

NEW CASTLE — Penn National Gaming will have another six months to meet Ohio Racing Commission demands.

In a special meeting yesterday, commission members asked Penn National to redesign the $125 million racetrack set for Austintown.

The redesign — which adds more seats — could take four to six months Penn National spokesman Bob Tenenbaum said.

He called the meeting “disappointing.”

Penn National had anticipated that yesterday, the commission would approve its request to relocate two racetracks. The delay effectively postpones the construction schedule and planned opening of the Austintown track, which had been anticipated for spring 2014, Tenenbaum said.

“We were two weeks away from awarding significant $4 million contracts for the first foundation work and the structural steel.”

The Pennsylvania-based gaming organization, which operates 27 holdings in 18 states and Canada, plans to move a thoroughbred racetrack from Columbus to Austintown and a harness track from Toledo to Dayton. Penn National will pay $75 million to relocate each track. It also anticipates paying a $50 million licensing fee to the Ohio Lottery Commission for each track to include video lottery terminals, similar to slot machines, at the sites.

Tenenbaum said yesterday was the first time the commission had given a number that would satisfy them.

“We submitted our first plan in November and waited until February for a hearing,” he said. “At that time, they said there were not enough seats.”

Tenenbaum said the number of enclosed seats was doubled, additional outdoor seating was planned and the design resubmitted for the commission’s March 12 meeting. Seating was increased again last week and for yesterday’s meeting.

“We didn’t know what they wanted until today.” he said. The racing commission wants 1,168 seats from which patrons can see the entire race, he said.

“There is no way to satisfy the higher number of seating in the building in its current design.”

Tenenbaum said the local market and racing season were among factors considered when designing the facility.

“Penn National is the largest operator of pari-mutuel racing facilities in the United States,” he said. “We believe we had a good basis for making the choices we did.”

He added that if the commission had approved the existing plan, “We would have been glad to come back in a year to say we need a larger facility.”

Tenenbaum said he believes the seating figure “is an arbitrary number.

“Not only will the building have to be completely changed, we will also have to return to Austintown Township and Mahoning County and reopen the permitting process.”

Similar demands were made for the Dayton project and more stalls were requested for the horses.

The commission meets again April 18. Tenenbaum said he does not anticipate redesign plans will be completed by then.

He said the Ohio Racing Commission did not raise the topic of Penn National participating with Endeka Entertainment to manage the harness track/casino planned for Lawrence County, an arrangement said to be in negotiations.

He noted that if the Pennsylvania track goes forward while the Austintown plans are under redesign, “that could change the dynamic. We were confident that (the Austintown track) would be the first to open and thereby have the advantage. We never saw this (delay) coming up.”

Tenenbaum said Penn National is still committed to the Austintown and Dayton projects.

He once again declined to comment on possible negotiations with the Lawrence County project, saying, “As a policy, we don’t comment on ongoing discussions or speculations.”


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

Where can you get the best ice cream cone this summer?

Dairy Queen
     View Results