Penn National Gaming, fresh from its selection as winner of the Rosecroft Raceway auction in Maryland, now reportedly is seeking permission to move its Toledo Raceway Park operation to eastern Ohio, near Youngstown
Two Ohio state legislators, who support the idea for economic benefits to the area, have told the Youngstown Vindicator that Penn National will discuss the move with the Ohio Racing Commission, perhaps as soon as next Thursday.
One of the legislators, state senator Joe Schiavoni of Canfield, told the paper, "I'm excited about the prospect of bringing 1,000 to 1,500 jobs and millions of dollars in investments to the Mahoning Valley," where he and Rep. Robert F. Hagan said Penn National is planning the move. According to their report, the fast-moving Pennsylvania gaming company wants to build the track in a now vacant location in Austintown, off Ohio state route 46 just south of busy Interstate 80.
A Penn National spokesman, Bob Tenenbaum, declined to confirm the report, saying, "We've been consistent in not discussing the potential movement until we're ready to make an announcement," which he said would be made "in the near future."
Senator Schiavoni said Penn National would invest between $200 million and $250 million in the Mahoning Valley. He said, "This is no save-all, cure-all for the area, but it is a great opportunity" which he said he will support.
A trustee for Austintown, David Ditzler, told Vindy.com, the Vindicator's online news outlet, "We have a long, long road ahead with respect to getting the racing commission to approve the license move to the Valley," pointing out that a racetrack had not relocated in Ohio "in about 50 years."
Harness Tracks of America