LEBANON, Ohio (AP) - Redevelopment of the fairgrounds in one southwestern Ohio county is on hold as state officials figure out the details of distributing $12 million in payments to communities affected by the legalization of racinos.
Lebanon in Warren County, north of Cincinnati, is the first of four communities around Ohio eligible for up to $3 million from a fund set up as part of the 2011 law that allowed racetrack owners to add electronic slot machines.
As many as three other communities could also receive state money if they lose their local racetracks as a result of the trend toward racinos, the Dayton Daily News (http://bit.ly/1hXu6M0) reported.
Through the fund, each former racetrack community would be eligible for up to $3 million within six months of the opening of each racino.
To receive the money, the communities will be required to submit plans to the state for creating jobs and stimulating economic development.
Toledo would qualify for funds, due to the loss of Raceway Park, when Penn National’s Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway replaces it. Grove City, south of Columbus, would qualify when Penn National opens a racino planned in Austintown, outside Youngstown, replacing Beulah Park.
Both of those racinos are expected to open this fall.
North Randall, east of Cleveland, would qualify if the ThistleDown Racino moves to the Akron-Canton area. A spokeswoman said the company was still weighing the option but had until June to decide.
Live harness racing began last month at the 120-acre Miami Valley Gaming complex, south of Lebanon. The move left area officials unsure about the future of most of the rented stables at the fairgrounds.
Information from: Dayton Daily News, http://www.daytondailynews.com