By Marc Kovac
State officials will hear a presentation next month on a new racino planned for Austintown.
Ohio Racing Commission Chairman Robert Schmitz told members Thursday that Penn National Gaming would offer details of plans for relocated horse racetracks in Austintown and Dayton.
The next commission meeting is tentatively set for March 21 near the Statehouse, though Schmitz said the timing could change.
The presentations are a next step in Penn’s efforts to move existing tracks in Toledo and the Columbus area, with new facilities offering horse racing and state-run video slots.
Penn has submitted applications for the moves to the racing commission, said Bob Tenenbaum, company spokesman.
Township trustee Jim Davis is not planning on attending the meeting unless requested by Penn National but is optimistic about continuing the process.
“Once again, it’s just one more step in that direction,” Davis said. “We can’t wait for it to happen, and this is another formality to get there.”
Rules for the relocations, which are set to take effect today, require Penn to pay a $75 million fee for each track, with half due up front and the remainder paid before video-lottery terminals operate.
Initial site work already is under way on the new Hollywood Mahoning Valley Race Course in Austintown off state Route 46 near Interstate 80, with a projected opening in 2014.
The racing commission could sign off on Penn’s relocation applications as early as next month. The company still would have to gain approval from the state lottery commission to offer video slots in Austintown.