MTR Gaming's Purchase of Ohio Track Completed

by John Kady

MTR Gaming announced it has completed its aquisition of Scioto Downs, a Standardbred track in Columbus, Ohio.

Marty Evans, a spokesman for the Ohio State Racing Commission, said the panel probably would formalize the transaction at its meeting Aug. 18 at River Downs. MTR Gaming, which owns Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort in West Virginia, paid $19 million for Scioto Downs.

The company's facility in West Virginia includes a Thoroughbred track, simulcasting, 3,200 video lottery terminals, a hotel with 359 rooms, a spa, a fitness center, a theater and events center, and restaurants.

The company also holds a license to build a Thoroughbred track in Erie, Pa. Mountaineer is located about 2 1/2 hours from Scioto, and about 1 1/2 hours from the site of the proposed Erie track. Legislators in Ohio and Pennsylvania have considered bills for racetrack gaming.

"We are extremely pleased to announce the completion of our acquisition of Scioto Downs," MTR president and chief executive officer Ted Arneault said. "The property is a perfect fit with our strategy to diversify and leverage our expertise by building or acquiring other middle-market gaming and/or pari-mutuel businesses in states that border West Virginia.

"We plan to capitalize on cross-marketing opportunities and our combined experience in the industry to enhance Scioto's operating performance."

Scioto shares the Columbus-area pari-mutuel market with Beulah Park. Their live meets don't overlap.