01/23/2014 3:57PM

No agreement yet between Ohio horsemen, new track opening in Youngstown


The owners of the new racetrack that will replace Beulah Park in Ohio do not have an agreement with horsemen yet over racing dates or the percentage of revenues that will flow to purses from slot machines at the track, officials of the track’s parent company told the Ohio State Racing Commission on Thursday.

The new track, which is located in Youngstown and will be called Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley, is set to open in the latter half of 2014 with 1,000 slot machines. However, it will not be granted a permit to open the casino if it does not also have a racing permit, which requires reaching an agreement with the state’s Ohio Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, the commission’s chairman, Robert Schmitz, said.

Hollywood Gaming is owned by Penn National Gaming Inc., the huge casino and racetrack owner.

Two racetracks in Ohio have already begun operating slot machines, including Thistledown outside of Cleveland, owned by a casino partnership. The commission said that a Thistledown representative told commissioners at a meeting on Thursday that it had reached an agreement with horsemen over the percentage of revenue that will go toward purses from the slot machines at the track. However, the percentage was not divulged, and both sides have not yet formally signed the agreement, the representative said.

Officials of the Ohio HBPA have not returned phone calls this week.

Current Ohio law requires casino owners to provide horsemen with 9 to 11 percent of the revenue from slot machines. If the two sides do not have an agreement on the exact percentage, then the commission is able to set the percentage within the 9 to 11 percent range.