The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Communities vie for sixth racino license

 


CLOVIS — Multiple groups in eastern New Mexico continue to jockey for the Land of Enchantment’s sixth racetrack and casino license as the state’s July 30 application deadline approaches.

Representatives from Laguna Development Corp. (LDC) hosted community members at the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce on Thursday to discuss that group’s goal of bringing a racino to Clovis.

Also Thursday, the New Mexico Racing Commission held a meeting in Albuquerque where representatives of some of the other racetracks across the state spoke out against the idea of a Clovis gaming facility, according to those in attendance.

In Clovis, LDC Chief of Sales and Marketing Skip Sayre and Director of Business Development Ken Mimmick provided an overview of the company and its vision for a racino in Clovis and answered questions from community members.

They said LDC is looking at a 160-acre site on the east side of Clovis adjacent to the city limits. The racino is estimated to cost $80 million and be ready for a grand opening in the middle of 2020, if the group were to be selected.

Sayre said LDC boasts past successful business ventures and one of the best group of executives in the gaming industry nationwide.

Meanwhile in Albuquerque, the city of Clovis was mentioned specifically at least three times by other track owners as a threat to the current operations in Hobbs and Ruidoso, according to those in attendance.

Former Clovis Mayor Gayla Brumfield and former City Commissioner Tom Martin were representing a committee promoting Clovis as the location for the state’s next racino called Vision 2020.

Brumfield said she believes a sixth license will be awarded though the Racing Commission will be doing a feasibility study once all the applications are in following the July 30 deadline.

Brumfield and Martin said they started to promote Clovis at Thursday’s meeting but were told by a representative of the attorney general’s office that they could not do so until after applications had officially been filed.

Warren Frost, a spokesman for a group looking to bring a racino to Tucumcari, said “anyone trying to put a track in Clovis has an uphill battle,” due to the opposition voiced against Clovis at Thursday’s meeting and the strength of the Tucumcari bid.

Frost said the Tucumcari proposal would cost about $70 million and generate 300 full-time jobs and an additional 100 to 150 jobs during racing season.

With a proposed 330-acre location between Route 66 and I-40, Frost said the key to the racino’s success would be drawing in people from the Texas Panhandle and Interstate 40.

Shaun Hubbard is also leading a group that is looking at bringing a racino to the east part of Clovis off Highway 70/84, which he said would generate approximately 300 jobs and even more associated with caring for the horses.

Hubbard said he has years of experience with horse racing in New Mexico and has developed personal relationships with people in the community, something he said will be key to the potential racino’s success.

Still more groups could submit an application to bring a racino to eastern New Mexico, with Brumfield expecting three to four applications to be filed for a Clovis location.

 

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