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

Clovis tops racino feasibility study


November 18, 2018

CLOVIS — In spite of some noted opposition, horse racetrack and casino proposals in Clovis are expected to bring more new dollars to New Mexico than either of the proposals in two other cities, according to a feasibility study recently completed for the New Mexico Racing Commission.

The commission contracted the Convergence Strategy Group to examine the five applications for the state's sixth racino license in relation to the communities in which the projects would be established. The ensuing report, updated Thursday, forecasts "new gaming revenues" for each project in 2021, which is about the earliest that any of them could begin racing if an award is made next month as scheduled.

The executive summary includes a table detailing those forecasts while accounting for money "cannibalized" from other racetracks in state, addressing a concern voiced by some in opposition to a new racino.

CSG's conclusions are that proposals for Clovis would bring in by far the most new money to the state in 2021, for a calculated "net gaming revenue impact" of approximately $51.5 million, $53.4 million and $66.2 million for "Clovis Racetrack and Casino," "Curry Downs" and "La Posada del Llano," respectively.

That's compared with an estimated net impact the same year of about $42.9 million and $15.8 million for the proposals in Tucumcari and Lordsburg, respectively.

The amount "cannibalized" from other racetracks ranges from a little over $2.1 million in the case of Lordsburg's "Hidalgo Downs" to about $326,000 in the case of Tucumcari's Coronado Park.

But that's not the only consideration, and while CSG pointedly "does not make recommendations as to the selection of applicants," it did address other concerns in its report.

"... We found Clovis to have less public support for a racino than Tucumcari or Lordsburg, but City (commissioners) state that they have enough support to permit it, and it is their votes that matter," says the section on "Social Impacts."

The main remaining concern highlighted by CSG is one raised by the Horsemen's Association.

"There will need to be coordination with interested parties, including incumbent racetracks in the state, to ensure that the schedule for racetrack operations (and breed types) is optimal so as to ensure the base racing product statewide," it continued.

NMRC discussed the sixth racino possibility at its regular meeting Thursday, which officials from the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce said included 11 representatives from Clovis in attendance. Some were feeling hopeful late last week.

Tom Martin, a representative for the "Vision 2020" group advocating a Clovis racino, wrote Friday that "things are looking favorable."

"We have plans to move forward," NMRC's Executive Director Izzy Trejo told The News, following an executive session Friday after the regular meeting.

The commission will meet next Nov. 28 at the Albuquerque Convention center "to allow the tribes to be heard and give the applicants an opportunity to make one last 15 minute presentation," following which commissioners "will have the opportunity to ask the applicants questions," Trejo wrote in a message.

More details on that meeting will be published Monday, according to NMRC officials.

The award is still scheduled to be announced Dec. 6.

Read the full feasibility study here:


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