Published March 26, 2012
Some media outlets (not The Vindicator) last week jumped on a news release from the Mahoning Valley Development Group, which is proposing The Mahoning Valley Casino & Resort. The MVDG wants to ask Ohio voters to change the 2009 constitutional amendment that permitted casino gambling in Ohio so a “fifth” establishment can be added.
But there's a problem: There already are five casinos being built in the state under the 2009 amendment: two in Cleveland and one each in Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo. Perhaps MVDG is suggesting a fifth location.
Be that as it may, the group has a bigger problem: No where in the news release do the partners, Dr. Brad Pressman and Rick Lertzman, indicate whether they have the financing in place, or if they have lined up investors. Pressman and Lertzman have been touting a casino for the Valley for a couple of years, but have never been able to give a definite answer to the question, “Do you have the $300 million to $400 million?” Both have acknowledged that they don’t have the financial wherewithal to make their dream a reality.
Given that Penn National Gaming is spending $200 million on a racino — a thoroughbred horseracing track coupled with slot machines — in Austintown, residents of the Valley have every right to ask Pressman and Lertzman to show proof of financing for the casino and resort they’re proposing before their plan for a constitutional amendment is taking seriously.