OSRC to Address River Downs Meet Transfer

The meet would move to Beulah Park if the racing commission approves the plan.

by John Kady

The fate of a plan to transfer the 2013 River Downs meet to Beulah Park could be decided March 12.

Ohio State Racing Commission chairman Bob Schmitz said the commission in March is also expected to address applications by Penn National Gaming Inc. to transfer racetrack licenses to accommodate video lottery terminal facilities. The company plans to move Beulah Park near Columbus to the Youngstown area, and Raceway Park, a Toledo harness track, to Dayton.

Bob Tenenbaum, a PNGI spokesman in Ohio, said River Downs would "rent" Beulah Park for the spring and summer. The facilities at River Downs, owned by Pinnacle Entertainment, were demolished recently to make way for a new racetrack and VLT casino expected to open in 2014.

Sources noted, however, PNGI still has no agreement with the Ohio Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association on the River-at-Beulah meet, meaning the OSRC could not approve it March 7 if a deal isn't in place. In addition, the meet relocation could require legislative action.

Tenenbaum noted that Beulah Park will not have VLTs. The track will close and most likely be sold when the new facility, Hollywood Slots at Mahoning Valley Race Course, opens sometime in 2014.

The March 7 OSRC meeting was added to the calendar after the agency's February meeting. The OSRC regular meeting had been scheduled for later in March.