Bill might clarify payments for 2 Ohio racino communities expecting to get $500,000 each

State lawmakers are considering a bill that could settle details of how two communities are paid the $500,000 each was supposed to get by year's end because racinos were moved there.

Those annual payments are supposed to go to the city of Dayton in southwest Ohio and the Youngstown suburb of Austintown Township. The issue was whether those payments should be drawn from a relocation fund that developer Penn National Gaming Inc. contributes to or whether the payments are in addition to those contributions.

The Vindicator in Youngstown ( ) reports a legislative amendment calls for half the amount to come from the fund and the other half from the operator. The payments also would occur for only three years under that measure, which passed the Senate but awaits House approval before going to the governor.

Democratic Sen. Schiavoni of Boardman of Boardman wasn't pleased by the three-year limit, which hadn't previously been outlined.

"I don't love it, but at least we got those dollars coming to the communities," Schiavoni said.

A statement from Penn National Gaming said it is disappointed in the Senate-approved amendment, calling it a "special new tax" on a company that has invested in Ohio gambling facilities and already paid hundreds of millions of dollars in new local and state taxes.

"We're baffled by the Senate's action, and we are beyond dismayed at having been singled out yet again for another money grab," Eric Schippers, senior vice president of public affairs for Penn National, said in a statement.

The racinos have horse racing and slots-like video lottery terminals.

The Austintown racino opened in September with a racing license transferred from Beulah Park near Columbus. The Dayton racino opened in August with a license transferred from Toledo.


Information from: The Vindicator,