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

Mood largely positive at racino meeting


July 4, 2018

Jamie Cushman

From left, Gayla Brumfield and Tom Martin of Vision 2020 give a presentation promoting Clovis as the site for the state's next racino during a meeting at the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.

CLOVIS — Proponents of Clovis as the site for the state's sixth and final racino license presented their vision for bringing a racetrack and casino to the area by 2020 during a meeting on Tuesday at the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce.

"What (a racino) does for our community I believe is threefold: it brings in jobs, it brings in economic development and quality of life and all three of those are things that we need here in our community," said Gayla Brumfield, a representative of Vision 2020, the group promoting Clovis as the optimal site for the state's next racino.

Brumfield said there are four groups that she knows of working to bring a racetrack to Clovis: Laguna Development Corp., Sunland Park and a group led by Shaun Hubbard, all of which have hosted meetings at the Chamber, and a fourth group that has been referred to as Full House that she did not know much about other than the fact they've met with city hall.

Brumfield said to her knowledge the groups are looking at sites on the east side of the city on Mabry Drive and all are estimating a similar workforce impact for a new racino - about 300 full-time jobs and up to 450 jobs during racing season, and as many as 750 jobs during construction.

"The horse industry is a three-quarter of a billion dollar industry in our state and with Clovis' rich horse culture and our horse industry, I think it just works hand-in-hand," Brumfield said. "I see this as a huge economic benefit for our community plus I think it's going to be fun."

Tom Martin, another representative for Vision 2020, addressed concerns about a potential uptick in crime if a racino were to come to Clovis.

Martin said according to law enforcement officials in Farmington and Hobbs, crime has not increased as a result of those communities adding racinos.

"We have more (service) calls to Wal-Mart than we do to the race track," Martin said Hobbs Police Chief Chris McCall told him.

After the meeting Brumfield said she was pleased with the turnout and positive energy at Tuesday's meeting.

"I thought the meeting was incredible. A lot more turnout than what I thought and 99 percent of the comments were positive and people want to see it here," Brumfield said.

Clovis resident Jack Muse was the only person at Tuesday's meeting that specifically identified themselves as opposed to bringing a racino to Clovis. He questioned the need and economic benefits of the project.

"Quality of life in Clovis to me is the human part of it, the relationships that we have, how strong our families are, how strong our moral values are, how strong our churches are," Muse said.

"I think that's why Cannon (Air Force Base) loves Clovis so much is because of the basis that we have here. I don't think they love Clovis for our entertainment value, I know that they wish it were better."

Martin encouraged Muse to hold a similar public meeting for those opposed to bringing a gambling facility to Clovis.

"I totally agree that there are some downsides, we will never deny that," Martin said. "We feel like the upside is better than the downside and that's what we are promoting."

According to Brumfield, a Clovis racino would have a racing season from March to May and would be required to have a minimum of 17 racing days.

Besides Clovis, there is also a group known to be looking in bring the racino license to Tucumcari, which representative Warren Frost said would also add around 300 full-time jobs and up to an additional 150 jobs during racing season.

In addition to those in eastern New Mexico, at Tuesday's meeting Clint Harden, a representative for Sundland Park, said interest also exists in Raton, Deming and Las Cruces.


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