07/27/2012 9:34AM

Churchill and Delaware North ask to move Lebanon Raceway, turn it into casino


A partnership of Delaware North Companies and Churchill Downs inc. filed an application Thursday with Ohio gambling regulators to move Lebanon Raceway and open a $175 million casino at the new location.

Miami Valley Gaming and Racing, the name of the partnership, said in the application that the new casino would house 2,500 slot machines, the maximum allowed under a measure approved by the state legislature. The new casino would be located near I-75 southeast of Lebanon.

Lebanon is one of four racetracks in Ohio that are expected to relocate in the wake of recent measures allowing for slot machines at Ohio’s seven tracks. Penn National Gaming Inc., which already has the rights to operate two free-standing casinos in the state, is planning to move both Beulah Park in Columbus and Raceway Park in Toledo to escape competition with its other casinos properties, and Rock Ohio Caesars, a partnership, plans to move Thistledown from Cleveland.

Churchill Downs and Delaware North purchased Lebanon, a harness track, for $60 million earlier this year. Ohio gambling rules require racetrack owners to spend at least $175 million on a new facility in order to obtain a license.

The Lebanon acquisition was the second made by Churchill in the past two years in order to secure a casino gambling license. Churchill has also purchased a free-standing casino in Mississippi.