04/08/2014 11:33AM

Two Ohio tracks reach VLT revenue agreements with horsemen

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Horsemen will receive approximately 10.6 percent of the net revenue from casinos at two racetracks in Ohio under the 10-year agreements that were recently approved by the Ohio Racing Commission, the head of the state’s Thoroughbred horsemen’s group said on Tuesday.

The agreements cover racing and purse distributions at ThistleDown racetrack in Cleveland and a new racetrack in Mahoning Valley that will replace Beulah Park. According to Dave Basler, the executive director of the Ohio Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, the agreement with ThistleDown will provide horsemen with a flat 10.6 percent of the revenue from slot machines, while the agreement with Penn National, the owner of Mahoning Valley, will provide horsemen with a flat rate of 10.572 percent of all slot-machine revenue plus some additional revenues from a favorable split on simulcasting revenue.

The agreements were reached earlier this year, several years after slot machines were authorized for Ohio racetracks. The enabling legislation required the tracks to contribute 9 to 11 percent of their slot-machine revenues to purses and breeders’ awards.

The Ohio HBPA still does not have an agreement with Belterra Downs, the track that has replaced River Downs in Cincinnati. Basler said he had discussions with the chief executive of the track’s parent company, Pinnacle Gaming, earlier this week to discuss dates to begin the negotiations.