AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The new man in charge of the Austintown Racino is no stranger to the gaming business. He can trace his gambling roots to early Las Vegas and plans to bring some of what he’s learned to the Valley.
Walking through the casino at Austintown’s Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Racecourse, Tony Frabbiele likes what he’s seen so far.
“We’ve got 1,034 units out there that are all performing well, so very impressed with how it’s going,” he said.
Frabbiele knows all about casinos. He’s third generation gaming, starting with his grandfather.
“He ran speakeasy casinos in New Orleans before gaming opened in Las Vegas and opened the Stardust in 1951 and moved the family out to Las Vegas,” Frabbiele said. “Then he was fairly prominent at Caesars from the ’50s all the way up to 1974.”
Frabbiele’s father also worked in Las Vegas but eventually moved to Louisiana when casinos opened there.
Frabbiele started as a valet, then got into food and beverage. He made stops at casinos in San Diego and Atlantic City. His first general manager’s job was in Baton Rouge.
He’s been in Austintown for three weeks.
“I actually live right down the street in one of the hotels, currently, but I’m looking to buy a house. We’re actually closing at the end of the month and I’ll be getting my wife, two small children, and four dogs up here soon,” he said.
There are two things at the Austintown Racino that Frabbiele is unfamiliar with — horse racing and the absence of table games.
“Your business flow patterns are a little bit different,” he said. “Obviously, we peak when racing season’s in. We get a lot of folks that come out for the live races on the track so the business volumes are a little bit different. So yeah, it’s a different dynamic.”
Frabbiele has spent much of his career in food and beverage and said he hopes to grow the Austintown Racino in the non-gaming side of the business.
He takes over for Mike Galle, who had been there since the racino opened three years ago. Galle was transferred to Mississippi to oversee Penn National casinos there.