Racino Manager Pleased with 1st-Year Performance

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio – The number of bets made on video lottery terminals at Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course dipped last month as the racino approaches its anniversary Sept 17.

August VLT play at Hollywood Gaming totaled $76.3 million, down 3.2% from $78.8 million the month before, the Ohio Lottery Commission reported Tuesday. The commission oversees VLT operations statewide.

Credits patrons won totaled $67.8 million last month, down from $70.1 million in July, according to the monthly report released Tuesday. Net win – the revenues remaining after payout of prizes to players – was $7.9 million in August, down from $8.3 million in July.

“We’ve received great support from the community from the time we’ve opened,” Mike Galle, general manager, told The Business Journal before the release of the August numbers. “We’re very happy with our results throughout the first year.”

Since the Austintown casino opened last September, VLT play there has totaled $855.9 million. Net win has been $89.8 million.

Month-over-month VLT bets were down statewide in August. Last month, wagers on Ohio VLTs totaled $782 million, down from $797.5 million, a 1.9% drop.

Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway, which opened the month before the Mahoning Valley racino, reported VLT wagers of just under $74 million in August, down about 1% from the $74.7 million in July.

“While our revenues were down slightly compared to July, we typically don’t put much significance on month-to-month changes,” said Bob Tenenbaum, spokesman for Penn National Gaming Inc., the company based in Wyomissing, Pa., that owns the racino.

“August was somewhat of a soft month statewide, due in part to many people taking advantage of the tail end of summer, and the back-to-school rush,” he continued. “Overall we continue to be pleased with our patrons’ response to our gaming and entertainment offerings.

The average number of active VLTs at Hollywood Gaming Mahoning Valley last month was 870, four more than in July. This week, the racino is completing the addition of 75 VLTs, bringing the total to 941.

“So far we’re seeing a lot of activity on the new machines that are already in operation,” Tenenbaum said yesterday.

Since opening, the racino has changed some options on its menu – including the institution of a Thursday night prime rib special that has been well received and all-you-can-eat ribs on Sunday – and is using the space used to view live races as a comedy club Thursday nights, Galle said. Shuttle service has been expanded to include local truck stops, he said.

Additional marketing features are planned to mark the racino’s first year of operations. It opened Sept. 17, 2014.

“We’re going to be giving a way extra money through the weekend,” Galle said. The program begins Sept. 17 and run through Sept. 20. “It should be a lot of fun that weekend,” he said.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.