LEBANON, Ohio - The future of the Lebanon Raceway at the Warren County Fairgrounds may remain in limbo until the Ohio Supreme Court rules on whether race tracks in the state can add video slot machines.
Some initial plans call for a race track-video slot machine casino in or around Lebanon that would cost $200 million to build and employ as many as 1,000 workers.
Trainers and horse racers at the raceway say the track needs the boost video slot machines would give it, otherwise, it will become harder for trotting horses to keep racing at Lebanon.
Some say they've seen purses and other revenue for horse owners sharply decline at Lebanon Raceway, while fees and other costs continue to rise. Even trying to race their horses out of state is difficult because states like Pennsylvania and Indiana give preferences to horses from their states.
Some elected officials in Warren County and Lebanon don't necessarily want to see a 'racino' or slot machines going in on county-owned fairground property, but they do want to keep the Lebanon Raceway in Warren County, whether it gets slots or not.
Warren County Commissioner Pat South tells 9 News there is other property available along interstates in Warren County where the Raceway could relocate and potentially attract even more customers than it does now.
But South says all discussions about the Raceway's future remain only preliminary, until they hear from the Supreme Court and the Governor's Office about race track video slot machines.
It's now up to Supreme Court justices since an anti-video gambling group, LetOhioVote.org, dropped its efforts to put video slots at Ohio race tracks on the November ballot.
There's no word on when the state's highest court will rule on Governor Ted Strickland's request for video slots at all seven race tracks in Ohio, including the Lebanon Raceway.
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Lanes of Interstate 75 in Boone County are blocked at mile marker 178 near Mt. Zion Road due to standing water on the highway.