Officials: Racino VLTs will be scaled back

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Declining revenues for Penn National Gaming’s casinos and racinos have caused the company to scale back the number of slot machines at the racino in Austintown set to open next year.

Penn National Gaming President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Wilmott said Tuesday during a conference call with investors the company will open the Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Racecourse with 1,000 slot machines instead of the planned 1,500.

Wilmott said a new Dayton racino also will open with less slot machines than planned.

“We’ll open a little more conservatively with the slot product we’ll put out on the floor and let the market grow and add additional slots,” Wilmott said. “We’re looking to open with about 1,000 slots at each facility.”

The company reported a $12.2 million loss for the second quarter during a Tuesday conference call. They had $761.4 million in revenues for the quarter.

“In Ohio, while first year gaming revenues for the Columbus market are in line with other similarly sized markets, our facility has not yet achieved the market share or margins we expected,” said Penn CEO Peter M. Carlino. “At this juncture, we continue to grow our player database and remain disciplined with respect to marketing and promotional activities.”

In Ohio, much of the loss came on properties like the Hollywood Columbus casino, which underperformed against competitor Scioto Downs.

“However if you look at what we have produced in operating results in higher properties, it’s actually terrific and the return on investments that most people in America would be thrilled to have,” said Penn National board president Peter Carlino.

Austintown Township Trustee Jim Davis said he was not surprised and that he’s not worried about fewer slots.

“You know what, Penn National is the No. 1 gaming operation in the country and they got there for a reason— they know their business,” Davis said. “I’m not going to question what they are doing if they feel that’s what they need to start here, then I am okay with it.”

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