Media, officials get racino sneak peek


AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Members of the media and local government officials got their first look inside the new horse race track and casino being built on state Route 46.

Construction is still on schedule for the Hollywood Gaming Mahoning Valley Race Course to open in the fall. Just in the last couple of weeks, carpeting has been installed, wallpaper has been put up and columns have been constructed.

Crews are working quickly to make sure the $250 million facility is ready for its ribbon cutting later this year. In the next week or so, the first video lottery terminals will be mounted on their bases.

General Manager Mike Galle said everything is going smoothly so far.

“If we are going to do an early fall opening, we are really in the home stretch of our construction. That is why you see the crews ramping up, that is why you see the progress in the course of a couple of weeks. It gets done really quickly from this point on,” Galle said.

There also is a handful of bars and eateries being built inside. Galle said the food court will be open 24 hours a day to start.

Seating areas also are being installed at the horse race track. Live racing will begin Nov. 24 at Mahoning Valley Race Course.

The gaming floor itself is about 25,000-square feet and there is an additional 5,000-square feet to expand if necessary. Approximately 850 VLT’s will be installed.

The Hollywood brand, and 1930′s art deco theme, mirror other gaming facilities already operating in Columbus and Toledo. Galle said he expects 5,000 people to come to the casino every day.

As far as employees, Galle said they are halfway done filling about 400 jobs. Thousands of people applied for positions at two recent job fairs.

“Both of those job fairs were very well attended. We were very impressed with the quality of the applicants we have and now we are just going through our casting calls and final selections.” he said.

Those casting calls continue through Aug. 14.

“It’s unbelievable to see this here today. Just knowing what this will mean to the Mahoning Valley. It’s going to be a destination location and it’s right here in Austintown. So we are absolutely ecstatic,” said Austintown Trustee Jim Davis.

And the township stands to benefit by more than just property taxes and the economic impact.

“We have a memorandum of understanding that Austintown Township will receive half a million dollars a year,” said State Rep. Ron Gerberry.

The total cost of the racino project is $250 million, with $125 million in licensing fees and $125 million in construction costs.

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