Pandemic Slashes Racino Wagers, Profit

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Patrons wagered just under $44 million at Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course’s video lottery terminals in June, a month shortened by the coronavirus.

The Austintown racino, which is operated by Penn National Gaming Inc. of Wyomissing, Pa., reopened June 19 since being closed since March 14, after Gov. Mike DeWine ordered such facilities closed to fight the pandemic.    

VLT wagers for the 11 days the racino was open totaled $43.91 million. That was lower than the nearly $52.86 million in wagers its firth month, September 2015, when it was open 14 days. Prior to March, when VLT wagers totaled $49.95 million, the last time wagers dipped below $100 million was January 2019. 

In June 2019, VLT play totaled $112.01 million.  

Credits won last month totaled $38.03 million. Penn National received $3.02 million as its commission for operating the racino.  

Eric Schippers, Penn National senior vice president of public affairs and government relations, said he was unable to address specific results because of Penn National’s upcoming earnings call.

“I can tell you that it’s hard to predict business volumes given the ongoing pandemic and the restrictions In place at our properties,” he said. “We’re proud of the way our team has responded and the comprehensive protocols we have in place are helping to protect our team members and valued guests.

The three-month shutdown brought VLT play for the 2020 fiscal year, which ended June 30, down to $984.57 million, the first time since FY 2016 that wagers dropped below $1 billion. VLT play totaled $1.25 billion during FY 2019. 

During the fiscal year just ended, patrons took home $874.10 million, compared with $1.11 billion. Penn National’s take for the year was $63.25 million for the year, compared to $81.93 for FY 2019. 

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.