Racing commission requests racino seating re-design - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Racing commission requests racino seating re-design

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio Racing Commission is asking the developer of the future racino in Austintown to re-work its design for Hollywood at Mahoning Valley Racecourse.

At its meeting today in Columbus, commissioners expressed concerns that there wouldn't be enough seating for the audience at the thoroughbred racetrack.

Penn National Gaming developers were hoping the commission would grant approval for the transfer of a racetrack license from a Columbus area track to the more than 180 acre site off of Route 46.

At issue, the focus for guests at the track. The commission questions the slot to seating ratio.

The facility will house one thousand video lottery terminals and 220 seats for patrons to watch their bets come down the final stretch.

"This facility, it's not just a sports bar, it's not just a racino, it's first and foremost a racetrack and we want to do everything we can to see that those facilities are as good as possible," said Mark Munroe, Ohio Racing commissioner.

If a seating solution will seal the deal on getting the license approval, Penn National will go back to the drawing board.

"I think we can certainly come back to them next week with more information, for instance, the idea of adding bleachers had not been talked about very much until today," said Bob Tenenbaum, Penn National spokesperson.

Tenenbaum says the bleachers could fit just below the seating area outdoors. Construction is slated for April, but he worries that without the license approval soon, there could be delays.

The township is ready to receive fees from the license transfer to prep the area with additional safety and fire personnel.

Austintown stands to garner $1 million dollars for the first and second year of the license relocation.

Austintown Township Trustee Jim Davis says people are itching to build hotels near the racino, two parties have expressed strong interest.

In addition to potential new economic growth, the racino will bring 1,000 new jobs.

Penn National will get another go before the commission March 20 at its next meeting.

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