SBD/August 23, 2012/Facilities

Thistledown Announces Plans For $88M In Upgrades To Transform Into A Racino

Thistledown will continue to hold live races during the racino construction
Rock Ohio Caesars yesterday said that it will "spend $88 million to update and transform the existing" Thistledown race track in North Randall "into a racino," according to Rick Armon of the AKRON BEACON JOURNAL. Rock Ohio Caesars said that the construction "is under way and the new gaming facility should open in the spring." The company is "turning the main grandstand floor at the horse track into a 57,000-square-foot gaming area with 1,150 slots-like video lottery terminals." Ohio tracks are "permitted to operate 2,500 machines." In addition to the video slots, the area "will feature a 60-seat restaurant, two food courts and a lounge." Rock Ohio Caesars also announced it will "upgrade Thistledown for racing fans by installing new simulcast viewing equipment, creating a premium seating area and updating betting windows." Another "lounge and a 500-seat restaurant will be updated." Live horse racing "will continue during construction" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 8/23). Ohio Caesars spokesperson Jennifer Kulczycki said that enhancements to the racetrack "will be noticeable by the second quarter of 2013." She also said that the "track's 2,300 space parking lot will be renovated" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 8/23). In Cleveland, D'Arcy Egan writes, "Faced with sparse crowds, dwindling wagering and an antiquated plant, Thistledown horsemen hope racino-supported horse racing will succeed" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 8/23).
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