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Caesars Entertainment Scioto Downs Grandstand Update

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November 17, 2021 Ohio State Racing Commission Agenda Item 9.  Those in attendance from Caesars included.

Joe Morris - Senior Vice President of Racing Caesars Entertainment

Amy Ankerson - Senior Vice President and General Manager Caesars Scioto Downs

Jason Roth - Director of Racing Caesars Scioto Downs

 

SVP Joe Morris re-stated the timeline updating October’s disclosure.  (1) Asbestos and Lead Paint abatement is complete. (2) Relocate site electrical located under the Grandstand area bids due November 22, 2021.  Disconnection and relocation of electrical to commence December 1, 2021.  Expected completion on electrical the last week of January 2022.  (3) Demolition of the Grandstand and Penthouse structures would start in the last week of January.  The target end-date for clean-up and removal of site debris would be February 2022, with construction to follow.  (4) Rebuild expected to start in March 2022.  Full facility building permits have been submitted and the construction timeline will be updated after permit issuance and structural steel delivery is confirmed.  Mr. Morris provided detail that a construction webcam would be installed to watch the progress on site livestreamed.

 

Caesars applied to use the existing temporary structure for racing in 2022 and modify post-times to 3:30 p.m. for the 2022 live meet due to the loss of track lighting above the grandstand until final construction.  The Racing Commission previewed and approved a slightly new configuration on the prior temporary structure to house racing officials at the racetrack.  The broadcast room, officials’ location, reconfiguration of racing operations equipment and post time were approved unanimously by the Racing Commission for the 2022 live meet.

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October 20, 2021 Ohio State Racing Commission Agenda Item 8.  Those in attendance from Caesars included.

Bill Reeg - Regional President Caesars Entertainment

Joe Morris - Senior Vice President of Racing Caesars Entertainment

Amy Ankerson - Senior Vice President and General Manager Caesars Scioto Downs

Jason Roth - Director of Racing Caesars Scioto Downs

Richard Hillis - Lobbyist for Caesars Enterprise Services

 

SVP Joe Morris re-stated the timeline updating September’s disclosure.  (1) Asbestos and Lead Paint abatement. (2) Relocate site electrical located under the Grandstand area. (3) Demolition of the Grandstand and Penthouse structures.  (4) Rebuild.   Mr. Morris provided detail that the hazardous material abatement should be complete by November 12, 2021.  Electrical relocation will follow with completion by December 2021.  Demolition should be complete by the end of December 2021.  The target end-date for clean-up and removal of site debris would be February 2022, with construction to follow.  Mr. Morris did not provide definitive dates for construction due to the difficulty in sourcing construction materials during COVID, particularly steel.  Caesars has transferred $6 million into the capital improvements account for the project.   Mr. Morris said, "best case scenario will have the new construction completed by December 2022."  Chairman Scott Borgemenke asked for continual updates on supply chain issues stating the Commission would be diligent in overseeing the project.  COO Anthony Carano followed-up that the steel for the project had been ordered, and they would provide transparency to the Commission on delivery dates.  Mr. Carano further added that, “Caesars is fully committed to racing”, with the intent to bring Scioto Downs back to what it was before as Ohio’s showplace of racing.

 

If the rebuild is not completed until December 2022, Caesars said they would request commencement of the live 2022 live racing meet with an earlier 3:30 p.m. post time, because lighting would be an issue without the grandstand structure.  Final track lighting to illuminate the stretch will be installed on the rooftop of the new structure.  In addition to an earlier post time, they sought dispensation to retain the existing temporary structure for use during racing for officials in 2022.

 

The new complex will have a 2,500-person capacity when Complete. The 500-seat capacity Clubhouse will remain.  New will be, 750 stadium seats in the main level, an additional 200 seats on the side, and open trackside apron area that can handle 500.  There will be VIP rooms on the top level on each side of the announcer's and racing officials' section.  The VIP rooms capacity are 80 and 50 each.  There is an open-air patio at the north end of the new structure that can seat 286 patrons.  The Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association provided input and opined that the open seating areas at a minimum be covered adequately so they can be used in all inclement weather and for special events without the need to pay for tents.

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September 8, 2021 Ohio State Racing Commission Agenda Item 8.  Those in attendance from Caesars included.

Bill Reeg - Regional Praesident Caesars Entertainment

Joe Morris - Senior Vice President of Racing Caesars Entertainment

Amy Ankerson - Senior Vice President and General Manager Caesars Scioto Downs

Jason Roth - Director of Racing Caesars Scioto Downs

Richard Hillis - Lobbyist for Caesars Enterprise Services

 

SVP Joe Morris outlined the timeline:  (1) Asbestos and Lead Paint Abatement. (2) Relocate site electrical located under the Grandstand area. (3) Demolition of the Grandstand and Penthouse structures.  (4) Rebuild.  The four-step plan has started with re-harnessing on the site electrical.  The large-scale work will commence as soon as the live meet ends as scheduled on September 18, 2021.  Mr. Morris did not provide definitive dates due to the difficulty in sourcing construction materials during COVID.  Although there is "no timeline, we will do it as fast as we can", stated Morris.  The, "plan is to have the facility ready to go by next year's live racing meet."

 

The new Grandstand will offer 750 stadium seats in the main level, an additional 200 seats on the sides, and open apron area.  There will be VIP rooms on the top level on each side of the announcer's and racing officials' section.  The VIP rooms capacity are 80 and 50 each.  The 500 seat capacity Clubhouse will remain.

 

The Ohio State Racing Commission comments admonished Caesars officials for the "embarrassing" state of the facility and subsequent black eye for Ohio Racing at what once was, "Ohio's Showplace of Racing".   Chairman Scott Borgemenke admonished Caesars officials for not taking care of the racing patrons to the same level and degree that racino patrons enjoyed, and said fines for this and any other future infractions would follow. Those fine monies would not be used to enhance the Racing Commission's coffers, but to aid participant and racehorse benevolence.  The Chairman's additional comments extended from more parity in marketing and promotion to patron treatment and accommodations.  Commissioner Thomas Winters added that the Commission would, "hold their feet to the fire" in regards to the project and operations moving forward.  Commission Winters further suggested holding any Casino Commission monies for operations in escrow until conditions are met regarding the facility.  Joe Morris said he would provide full capital expenditures, marketing budgets for racing, and other items.

 

Chairman Borgemenke warned, "but-for racing, the racinos would not exist," and a full report of planned capital expenditures, marketing budgets, and other items will be requested from all permit holders going forward. The corporate entities must comply to take care of live racing and the live racing program.  In future Racing Commission meetings, the expectation was the corporate decision-makers with actual authority be present.

Proposed Scioto Downs Grandstand