The first of two $1 million payments is headed to six Ohio communities that will host racinos, including the city of Dayton and Turtlecreek Township in Warren County.
“This was something that was part of the original racino agreement and we’re glad to see it coming to fruition,” Stanley Earley, Dayton’s deputy city manager, said Thursday.
The Ohio Office of Budget and Management announced Thursday that the payments were being processed and they should arrive in a day or two. The second round of checks will be released in about six months. Columbus, home to both a casino and a racino, is not included in the payout.
Ohio law requires that each municipality or township receiving a payment from the Casino Operator Settlement Fund — derived from licensing fees paid by the casinos — use at least fifty percent of the money for infrastructure or capital improvements. The balance may be used for other community needs.
“These funds will bring some relief to the city of Dayton, as our community is still working to recover from deep budget cuts imposed by the state since 2011,” State Reps. Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) said.
Earley said the first $1 million to Dayton will be used for capital improvements such as road work, demolition of vacant buildings and to improve city government’s IT network. Half of the second $1 million will be used for capital improvements and the balance will go into the city’s General Fund.
Tammy Boggs, Turtlecreek Township’s fiscal officer, said she still has some questions regarding use of the funding.
“There has been no decision on how the money will be spent,” Boggs said.
Ground was broken on the Penn National Gaming Inc. racino — at Wagner Ford and Needmore roads in Dayton — in late May. The project is expected to create 1,000 jobs at the facility or related businesses and 1,000 construction jobs.
The facility is set to open in the second half of 2014. Fifty-six, live racing days have been set for Hollywood Gaming at Dayton Raceway next year. The Ohio State Racing Commission, on Thursday, voted to set the harness racetrack’s premier racing season from Oct. 3 to Dec. 27.
Miami Valley Gaming general manager Jim Simms said this week construction on the new racino in Turtlecreek Twp. at Ohio 63 and Interstate 75 is on track for a Dec. 12 opening and predicted more than $125 million in gambling revenue during its first year.
More than 5,000 people have applied for positions at the racino in Warren County and so far, about 500 have already been hired. The goal is to staff the racino and its four restaurants with a total of 515 people, Jeff Nelson, senior marketing manager, has said. Officials will continue to hire workers into the first quarter of operations.
The State Racing Commission is expected to set racing dates for the Warren County facility at its Nov. 21 meeting.