Test your luck in Lebanon

By Jessica Graue Assistant Managing Editor jgraue@civitasmedia.com

December 11, 2013

LEBANON — Starting at noon today, the county will only be 30 minutes away from the newest gaming facility in the area.

Miami Valley Gaming will be open to public with more than 1,600 gaming machines and a racetrack that will feature harness racing on a 5/8-mile track in a grandstand that seats about 1,000 people.

The project began a little over a year ago when two companies, Churchill Downs Incorporated and Delaware North, purchased the Lebanon Raceway. It was transformed into Miami Valley Gaming and on April 1, Jim Simms took over as president and general manager.

“The commitment to this project has been outstanding. We are exceptionally pleased and can’t wait to get the doors open,” Simms said.

The amount of planning that went into the project was immense. A lot of planning was necessary and that is one reason why Simms believe the racino will be successful.

“There’s an old saying that failing to plan is planning to fail. First we had to hire the right people. We have a great team of 525 people. It’s also a great economic engine for the area,” said Simms.

According to Simms, the economic impact will be very positive for the area. With just the construction phase, the company was able to employ 1,000 workers. Beyond job creation, taxes from the facility will go to the state and the racino plans on holding charity events and promoting local commerce.

Chris Kershner, vice president of public policy and economic development for the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce believes the Lebanon racino will have a positive impact on the surrounding communities, as well as the future Penn Gaming racino in Dayton.

“I think the Miami Valley Racing and the Penn National Gaming in Dayton will both have a positive effect on the Dayton area. They are employing hundreds of new jobs for the region. They are also purchasing downstream services. They are going to have to purchase certain services locally,” he said.

The community is certainly receptive to the new racino. Simms said about 12,000 people have already signed up to be a MVG Club member. The facility has been running a number of promotions in preparation for opening day. Simms wants to create a customer feedback loop because he believes the guests are the most important part of the equation.

“Our business philosophy is a little old fashioned. We know there’s competition, so we have things you won’t find anywhere else. We have the best gaming products. Bally gaming allows us to provide progressive games that the competition won’t have. It adds another level of excitement,” he said.

The gaming experience is incredibly important, which is why Simms said they will be providing the most comfortable chairs and superb guest services. But gaming is the only thing the racino will have to offer.

There will be numerous dining options including: Cin City Sea & Steak, Acres Seasonal Buffet, Trifecta Eatery, MV Perks, 1803 Bar and a bar in the center of the gaming floor.

The Cin City Sea & Steak restaurant is for fine dining, while the buffet will include numerous food options in different styles. The Trifecta Eatery will serve burgers, pizza and chili, while coffee will be the treat at MV Perks. The 1803 Bar is an homage to Ohio as the 17th state to join the Union in 1803. This is the place to watch a game or play trivia.

In preparation for the opening, a special VIP night was held Tuesday to introduce 700 guests including business leaders, legislative people, high ranking officials and community leaders. A special night for the facility’s employees and their friends and family was held last week.

“These are great opportunities to show what we will be unveiling,” Simms said.

Simms believes there will be approximately 25,000 people stopping by the racino on opening day. But what Simms hopes for opening day is very simple.

“A lot of excitement, fun and happy guests,” he said.

After the facility opens Thursday, it will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Miami Valley Gaming is located at 6,000 State Route 63 in Lebanon. For more information, call 1-855-WIN-MVGR or visit their website at www.miamivalleygaming.com.