Following heated meeting, ORC expected to make decision on revis - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio


Following heated meeting, ORC expected to make decision on revised racino plan

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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Following up from a heated meeting last week, another is set Wednesday between Penn National Gaming and the Ohio Racing Commission.

Penn National presented another revised racino design to the Ohio Racing Commission last Wednesday.

The redrawn plans could finally serve as the winning ticket for approval of a racing license transfer to Austintown. The ORC is expected to make that decision in Wednesdays' meeting.

Last week's meet was filled with drama, with digs back and forth between the commission and Penn National officials as the Austintown project remains frozen.

"There's definitely not friendships in there. They're definitely at each other's throats and they both feel that they're right. They both are making their case to one another every week," says Senator Joe Schiavoni.

This time, a revised indoor seating and horse stall plan may finally help this process along.

Penn National's opening plans includes about 500 enclosed seats with a track view.

Two possible future expansions could push that number closer to 1,500 if needed.

"We know what we think the market can support here, we've had a difference of opinion with the commission," says Penn National spokesperson Eric Schippers. "If we're wrong, and we hope we are wrong, we hope fans will turn out in record volumes. That's when we would trigger the additional phased expansion."

If the license transfer is approved next week, Penn National says it would only be a couple of days beyond that point that they could get workers back to the construction site and get shovels back in the ground.

"We can give the green light immediately. Then it's just a question of how fast our construction company can get the bodies back out there on the site," Schippers says.

The $125 million project will bring 1,000 racino jobs to the busy corridor off of Interstate 80.

The original blueprint of the complex to be built is still intact. Penn National is hoping it played its cards right as it waits for possible yes votes at next week's meeting.

21 news reporter Lindsay McCoy and photojournalist John Mikulas are en route to Columbus for Wednesday's meeting. Stay connected to and tune into 21 News for more updates.



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