Austintown, in northeastern Ohio, has much to celebrate this day. After breaking ground on May 30, 2013, today is the official grand opening of the long-awaited Hollywood Gaming at Mahoning Valley Race Course. The opening of this new land-based casino marks the establishment of the seventh racino gambling facility in the Buckeye State.
The new Hollywood Gaming establishment will feature approximately 850 video lottery terminals (VLT’s), otherwise known as slots and video poker machines. According to the Ohio casino’s website, that number will nearly double to 1,500 “soon”. However, as per the legislative conditions of launching a ‘racino’ in Ohio (racecourse and casino combined), there will be no table games at Austintown’s Hollywood Gaming. That means that local blackjack, roulette and poker fans will still have to travel as far as Cleveland or beyond to satiate their wagering pleasures.
Pari-mutuel enthusiasts will be glad to know that the Mahoning Valley Race Course is already scheduling the first thoroughbred races to be held in northeastern Ohio. The schedule begins with the first races being held this winter, starting November 24, 2014. In the meantime, the Ohio racetrack will offer simulcasting of live horse races from around the nation on a daily basis, thus there will never be any shortage of bets to place on the ponies.
According to the Vice President of Racing Operations, Mark Loewe, the impending horse racing schedule will consist of 100 days of action-packed thoroughbred racing across two seasons. Races will be held from January through April, and again from October to December. The licensure agreement with the Ohio Gaming Commission permits the racino to run races every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday between those months.
The casino will open its doors at noon today, Wednesday, September 17, 2014, as the establishment welcomes professional lightweight boxing champion Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini as the official ribbon cutter. It comes complete with the casino, race course, simulcasting facilities and, of course, a few desirable dining options and a sports bar. It’s been designed to mirror its sister-site in Dayton, OH, including the classic 1930’s décor through the casino. Also, like its Dayton facility, VLT’s are the only casino gambling amusements on the racino’s menu.
The Hollywood brand also runs two full-scale casinos located in Columbus and Toledo. These facilities were established as traditional casinos, and while they don’t offer an adjacent horse racing track, they are licensed to present a full range of gambling amusements. All four Ohio destinations offer the same VIP rewards programs, which can be shared across venues for card holding patrons.
The Hollywood Casino in Columbus is equipped with 2,200+ slots and video poker machines of all varieties, as well as a vast collection of more than 70 table games. Visitors will find blackjack, roulette, craps, mini-baccarat, let it ride, 3 card poker, 4 card poker, crazy 4 poker, casino war, high five poker, fortune pai gow poker, big 6 wheel, Mississippi Stud and Ultimate Texas Holdem, with regular blackjack tournaments on the menu. There is also a 36-table poker room that features live Texas Holdem and Omaha action in cash game and tournament selections. The Hollywood Casino in Toledo is a near emulation of the Columbus facility, but on a slightly smaller scale.