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PNGI Applies for VLTs, OH Track Relocations

The documents were filed with June 30 with two state agencies, officials said.

Penn National Gaming Inc. on June 30 filed requests for video lottery terminals and to relocate its two Ohio racetracks.

The company said July 2 it filed documents with the Ohio State Racing Commission for track relocation, and the Ohio Lottery Commission for VLT licenses. Under a memorandum of understanding with Republican Gov. John Kasich, PNGI will pay $75 million per racetrack for relocation, and $50 million per track for a VLT license.

PNGI plans to move Beulah Park near Columbus to Austintown in northeastern Ohio, and Raceway Park in Toledo to Dayton in southwestern Ohio. The company must pay a minimum of $125 million to build each racetrack gaming facility.

"Filing for VLT licenses and formally requesting that the racing commission approve our relocation plans is another major step forward for these two significant economic development projects," PNGI chief operating officer Tim Wilmott said. "We are hopeful we can receive state approval in a timely manner, allowing us to break ground this fall on the new facilities in the Mahoning Valley and in Dayton."

OSRC chairman Robert Schmitz said he expects to consider relocation requests in the third quarter of this year.

Beulah Park will continue operating at its current location until the new track--Hollywood Slots at Mahoning Valley Race Course--is open, perhaps in 2014. Raceway Park near the Michigan border also will continue operating until the new track is constructed.

PNGI said it is working with local officials to "determine the best possible use of the land once the racetracks cease operations."

Raceway Park, originally an auto racing track, began horse racing in 1959 with a Thoroughbred meet and added harness racing in 1962. It has only offered harness racing for decades.

Beulah Park was founded in 1923 and calls itself Ohio's first Thoroughbred racetrack. The facility was known as Darby Downs for a period of time.