MTR’s president, CEO resigns

CHESTER – As MTR Gaming Group’s original property – Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort – struggles in the face of competition from Ohio and Pennsylvania, Jeffrey J. Dahl is resigning as the company’s president and chief executive officer.

MTR officials on Tuesday said Dahl’s resignation from the board of directors is effective immediately so he can pursue other business interests. He will remain as president and chief executive officer while the board searches for a successor.

“We want to thank Jeff for his service to MTR Gaming, including his valuable contribution to the construction and opening of our new Scioto Downs gaming facility in Columbus, Ohio,” said Steven M. Billick, chairman of the board of MTR.

“I’m proud of the progress and accomplishments we created at MTR Gaming during my tenure,” said Dahl. “The opening of our Scioto Downs gaming facility has put the company on a successful path. … I’m confident the company will continue to prosper.”

Demonstrating how Ohio is taking gambling dollars from West Virginia, revenue at Mountaineer dropped 15.8 percent in the last three months of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011. However, parent company MTR saw company-wide revenue increase 12.2 percent during the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to 2011.

Revenue at Mountaineer fell from $55.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 to $47 million during the same period in 2012. Cash flow from slot machines at the Chester-based track dropped by $5.5 million during this time, while revenue from table gambling fell by $2.1 million.

MTR blames “increased competition from Ohio” as a major reason for the revenue drop at Mountaineer.

For the entire year 2012, MTR’s revenues increased 14.5 percent to $490 million, up from from $428.1 million in 2011.

During the final three months of the year, revenues rose from $103.6 million in 2011 to $116.3 million in 2012.

Revenue at Scioto Downs was $32.4 million during the final three months of 2012, after totaling only $300,000 as primarily a horse racing venue without slot machines during the previous year.

Revenue at MTR’s other property, Presque Isle Downs & Casino in Erie, Pa., fell from $47.5 million during the fourth quarter of 2011 to $36.9 million at the same point in 2012, reflecting a 22.3 percent loss. The company also blames more competition from Ohio as the reason for the losses at this facility.