“The gaming and racing industry continues to change at a rapid pace, and Jim has excellent market insight and vast knowledge to help ensure Miami Valley Gaming is a world-class gaming and racing destination in southwest Ohio,” William Bissett, president of Delaware North Companies Gaming and Entertainment, said.
Bill Carstanjen, president and chief operating officer of Churchill Downs Inc., said, “Jim is an outstanding leader and has a deep understanding of the gaming and racing industry in the region. With his track record, we are confident he will make this project a huge success for Ohio.”
Since 2008, Simms has served as president and general manager of Wheeling Island Hotel-Casino-Racetrack in West Virginia, overseeing the conversion of Wheeling Island into a full casino, while meeting the challenges of growing regional competition in recent years. Simms joined Delaware North in 2006 as vice president of marketing for Wheeling Island, overseeing all aspects of marketing, player database and player development, sales, public relations, promotions, special events and entertainment.
Prior to joining Delaware North, Simms held senior marketing positions with gaming properties in the United States and Canada, including the Majestic Star in northern Indiana, Ameristar in northern Nevada, Bally’s and Paris Las Vegas and Casino Rama in Toronto.
Simms was a regional chairman for the United Way of Upper Valley of Ohio in 2006 and has led many community relations efforts for Wheeling Island. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in business administration from York University in Toronto.
Lebanon Raceway will move from its current location at the Warren County Fairgrounds to its new gaming and racing complex on the northeast corner of Union Road and State Route 63 in Turtlecreek Township in Warren County. Preliminary site work is under way, and the project is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2014.
The new facility, now formally set to be called Miami Valley Gaming, will include a five-eighths-mile harness racing track and a 186,000 square foot gaming facility on the 120-acre site. In addition to the $50 million video lottery terminal (VLT) license fee, Miami Valley Gaming and Racing will invest up to $175 million in the new facility, including the cost of VLTs. Total project cost is estimated to be $225 million. The project will create 1,000 construction jobs and 700 permanent jobs when the facility opens. It is expected to generate $24 million a year for the local economy.
Racing will continue at the Warren County Fairgrounds facility until construction of the new facility is completed. VLT operations will not begin until the new facility is open.