Speculation regarding the construction of a new combined racetrack and casino in New Mexico has come to an abrupt end with the decision by a state commission to hold off on any such venture for now.
For the last year, proponents of building what would be a sixth racino in the state have been waiting for an answer from the New Mexico Racing Commission regarding its licensing.
There are currently five New Mexico racinos operating in Albuquerque, Farmington, Hobbs, Ruidoso, and Sunland Park. Due to a compact between the state and casino-operating tribes in New Mexico, only one more casino could be legally built in the state.
According to earlier estimates, that final racino was expected to cost anywhere between $70 million and $80 million to build.
While several developers had submitted proposals to the commission for the project, that body ultimately decided that the proposals did not for the present make good economic sense.
An earlier feasibility study, undertaken by the New Orleans-based Convergence Strategy Group for the commission, had indicated that a new racino in the state could generate up to $68 million in annual revenues.
But that study also suggested that that racino would significantly eat into the business generated by the other five existing racinos.
Last year, those racinos earned just over $230 million in gaming revenue, up from $226 million in 2017.
Although the construction of a new racino is now not imminent, Beverly Bourguet, chairperson of the commission, is reported to have said that proposals for a similar project may be entertained in the distant future.
By Garry Boulard
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