by John Kady
The Ohio State Racing Commission probably will rule on racetrack license transfers during the third quarter of this year, OSRC chairman Robert Schmitz said June 11.
The owners of several racetracks in Ohio have sent memorandums of understanding to the office of Republican Gov. John Kasich agreeing to the rules and fees to be paid for relocation of the facilities.
Penn National Gaming Inc. wants to move its Thoroughbred racing license from Beulah Park near Columbus to a new location in the Youngstown area, and its Standardbred operation at Raceway Park in Toledo to the Dayton area. Under an agreement with Kasich, PNGI would pay $75 million per track in transfer fees.
Both tracks are expected to hold racing at their current locations through at least 2013 given construction timelines at the new locations.
In the Cleveland area, Rock Ohio Caesars agreed to pay $25 million to move Thistledown to the Akron-Canton area should it decided to do so. For now the company plans to install video lottery terminals at Thistledown with a target opening of spring 2013.
The gambling interests will also have to pay $50 million for a VLT licensing fee. So far only Scioto Downs, a Columbus harness track, has installed VLTs. The gaming operation began June 1.