Redevelopment of the fairgrounds in one southwestern Ohio county is on hold as state officials figure out the details of distributing $12 million in payments to communities affected by the legalization of racinos.
Lebanon in Warren County, north of Cincinnati, is the first of four communities around Ohio eligible for up to $3 million from a fund set up as part of the 2011 law that allowed racetrack owners to add electronic slot machines.
An official at the racino under construction in Dayton says most of the hiring will happen this summer - but smokers need not apply.
Gary DeWitt, general manager of the Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway, wouldn't say how many people will be hired or how many will be full-time at the new track being built on the site of an old automotive plant.
But he did say they won't hire smokers. All Penn National Gaming establishments require employees to be non-smokers. The harness-racing track, which also will feature 1,000 slot machines, will be smoke-free.
About 20,000 people are expected to descend on Ohio’s newest racino Thursday. The new gaming facility in Turtlecreek Township is expected to be a boon to the local economy.
Warren County Economic Development Director, Martin Russell, says Miami Valley Gaming’s new $175 million dollar racino means big revenue for the county.
“I think that when you talk about jobs, you talk about capital investment, you talk about bringing in more people inside of Warren County...this is going to really broaden our economic base," said Russell.
The company behind a southwest Ohio racino says the project should be finished by its target date next year, though demolition and cleanup work at the Dayton site is taking longer than expected.
An official from Penn National Gaming tells the Ohio State Racing Commission workers are taking extra time to clean up concrete slabs at the site, which is a former manufacturing plant. He says the project is lagging behind construction of another Penn National racino near Youngstown that doesn't involve industrial cleanup.