My family and I headed out to check out some harness racing action at the new Miami Valley Gaming & Raceway in Lebanon, Ohio last Saturday. The location is very convenient to get to from Middletown, OH where my in-laws reside. We walked around to check out the gaming facility and I was surprised how crowded it was. The layout was nice, but I think they missed on a few things which I will get into in a bit.
The overall design and layout of the new racino was very nice, but with a few flaws which is expected from a new venue. The main entrance is too crowded because they have the MVG Club “Most Valuable Gamers” sign up area. The racino should have located the sign up area away from the main entrance to minimize the crowd congestion. The biggest disappointment was the center bar where two bartenders seemed overwhelmed and lacked speed and confidence to keep up with what I would call a moderately busy bar. I was watching each bartender and noticed they were preparing one drink at a time. As an experience bartender from Las Vegas these two bartenders need training to improve speed, presentation and most importantly, smile at all times! The back bar near the racetrack was dialed in and wait times were less than two minutes opposed to 15 minutes at the center bar.
The racetrack opened in February and you can see there’s more work to be done especially in the infield and they need to replace the current tote board with a state-of-the-art tote board. The venue, seating and outdoor areas were designed well to provide comfort, easy access and within a short distance to all the amenities for horse players. I was very surprised how crowded the indoor seating area was, it was jammed packed wall to wall. The biggest issue was the location of the live tellers. They are located in front of the entrance to the trackside seating area also close to the bathrooms which caused bottle necks throughout the night.
The racetrack has room for improvement, but that is expected with any new track. The one thing that I was hoping for is a passing lane in the stretch to allow horses to pass inside. Many tracks today like Yonkers Raceway and Pocono Downs have a passing lane in the stretch. Overall, the racing was good and the race caller was outstanding.
Facility Design & Layout: B
Service: C “Center bar needs help”
Food: n/a “I didn’t eat, but it looked like many people were”
Racetrack Area: B
I look forward to coming back to Miami Valley Gaming & Raceway several times a year and hope to meet other fans of harness racing like Jeff who loves the sport of horse racing as much as I do.