Region's first racino opens in Lebanon

LEBANON, OH (FOX19) - The region's first racino, a combination race track and casino opened its doors to the public today in Lebanon.

It's a $175 million investment that's expected to pay off big for the local economy.

People from all across the tri-state came to Lebanon Thursday for Miami Valley Gaming's grand opening. There are no gaming tables, but with 1600 state of the art gaming machines there's plenty of fun to be had.

Miami Valley opened with a ceremonial ribbon cutting after which hundreds of customers began pouring in.

Jim Miller from Middletown says he only spent a few minutes at a machine before becoming a winner. "This is just five minutes from where I live and it's beautiful and I already started winning," says Miller.

Like many customers this wasn't Miller first visit to a casino.

"I have been to all the local casinos and this one tops my list," he says.

That's the kind of endorsement general manager Jim Simms says he wants to hear.

"We know it's a competitive market, but we have some advantages our competitors don't have," says Simms. "We've got the very best gaming product in the market that you can get right now."

Miami Valley boasts 68-thousand square feet of gaming space with machines that play anywhere from a penny to $100.

Donna Rumgay of Hamilton says it's worth the gamble. "I'm doing real good. I hope I do better," says Rumgay.

Charles Gunn of Dayton came with his parents and he says he's not bothered by the lack of gaming tables. "No tables, but the machines are good enough. I guess I'll start pulling," explains Gunn.

The machines are plenty of entertainment for Jerry Withers of Middletown.

"Oh they're lots of fun, believe me. I mean, I belong to a private club," says Withers. "The state won't let us have machines because they ain't getting their cut, you know what I mean, so you come here and play."

Johnnie Glen of Middletown came with her sister and says she couldn't wait for the opening.

"I just love to gamble for real and I was excited and was glad that we got the casino to come to Middletown," explains Glen.

Debbie Chadwell of Middleton says she's impressed. "Everybody seems friendly. I hope I'm a big winner, but it doesn't matter."

"Oh I will be coming back -week by week," says Terry Kershbergen.

Miami valley is open 24-hours a day 7-days a week, and beginning in February they'll have harness racing.

Miami Valley Gaming includes four restaurants and a bar, plus 500 jobs have been created.

The new racino is expected to generate 24-million dollars for the local economy.

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