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

Debate is welcome, but investors decide if ponies get to run


August 12, 2018

Critics site the potential for more crime, more poverty and more opportunity for addiction.

Proponents point to economic benefits and “something fun to do.”

They’re both right, of course.

Horse races outside a casino — or racino — would bring more people, possibly more trouble, and certainly more entertainment to eastern New Mexico.

But while all voices are welcome on this issue, those that should matter most belong to the New Mexico Racing Commission — which ultimately decides who, if anyone, will receive the state’s sixth racino license — and the individuals willing to risk their money on such a business venture.

Former New Mexico Lt. Gov. Walter Bradley is certainly welcome to be concerned about social ills and the impact competition may have to his restaurant business, which he’s voiced publicly.

Former Clovis Mayor Gayla Brumfield is welcome to try and keep the spotlight on hundreds of jobs the proposed racino will bring, potentially firing up the region’s economy.

But in the end, we don’t get to vote on which businesses line our streets. If we did, we’d order up a Target and maybe a Trader Joe’s tomorrow.

We can’t make Apple open a complex in Portales any more than we would deny Allsup’s the ability to occupy every other street corner.

In other words, let freedom ring, and God bless America.

This is the same argument we made when some fellows opened a strip joint on the edge of Clovis a few years ago: If you don’t want to go, then don’t go. But don’t try to stop others.

In the case of the “adult entertainment” club, residents stayed away in droves and the belly dancers went, you know, belly up.

The same could happen if Clovis or Tucumcari is awarded a racino. Or maybe the business’ investors will get rich beyond their wildest dreams and the community economy will thrive as a result.

Either way, those business owners are the ones at risk, not local citizens with “moral” objections or those who “just want what’s best” for the area.

That said — and since everyone else seems to want to share their opinion on what kind of business should go into business around here — we’d like to add this to the conversation:

There are already plenty of legal opportunities to gamble in Clovis and Tucumcari and most other communities in eastern New Mexico — from state-run lottery games to church Bingo. But no one is forced to play.

We agree with what restaurant owner Tom Martin had to say at last week’s Curry County Commission meeting:

Our “main point here is to let the market decide.”

Unsigned editorials are the opinion of the Easterm New Mexico News’ editorial board, which consists of Publisher Rob Langrell and Editor David Stevens.


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