Ohio Racing Commission withholds license transfer from Penn - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Ohio Racing Commission withholds license transfer from Penn National

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WYOMISSING, Penn. - With millions already spent on site preparation, Penn National wants actual construction to be underway right now.

But the Ohio Racing Commission has delayed approving a license transfer because it wants the company to redesign the facility and add additional indoor, climate-controlled seating for racing fans.

The company's chairman and CEO says he understands the commissions commitment to support racing, but says Penn National operates seven tracks and it knows the state of the industry today. 

"Racing commissions, not just in Ohio but elsewhere, just haven't caught up with reality that the kind of racing business that we've known in the past is no more," says Peter Carlino, Chairman of the Board and CEO.

Penn National's corporate development spokesman says the commission is reluctant to accept what the company believes is right for the Mahoning Valley.

"They remain stedfast in encouraging us to maintain a level of seating that we think is anywhere remotely appropriate for current market conditions," says Steven Snyder.

Carlino says as a business, Penn National cannot look at spending capital that will not generate any returns.

"There is just a finite amount of money that can be spent on this facility and we will be as we always have been extraordinaryily disciplined about what we'll spend there so there's really not any room here to go much further. We've got a facility it's a terrific facility, It's our hope that sooner or later they will come around to realize that what we've proposed is what ought to be there, so lets leave it at that," Carlino says.

With plans to open in Austintown in 2014, they hope it will be sooner and not later.

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