Harness investments costly to MTR Gaming Group

Mar 17, 2009 4:05 PM
Earnings by Ray Poirier | Ted Arneault, the former president and CEO of MTR Gaming Group Inc. (MNTG) seemed to feel that there was a lot of money to be made in harness racing. He bought Scioto Downs in Ohio, Jackson Raceway in Michigan and a half-interest in Running Aces in Minnesota.

All losers.

And it fell on his replacement, Robert Griffin, to report that the company lost $17.4 million in 2008.

This came on top of a $11.4 million loss in 2007. This was after the company took a $12.3 million impairment and equity charge attributed to Running Aces.

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Griffin said that since his tenure began in October of last year he has "transitioned" the company from focusing on development to "operational efficiency." He also has focused on its Mountaineer Casino & Racetrack in West Virginia as well as its Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Erie, Pennsylvania.

He also said his company would oppose any efforts in Ohio to expand gambling that did not include slots at the licensed racetracks.