Although members of the New Mexico Racing Commission originally hoped to announce a decision regarding the licensing of a new racino on December 6, that decision may not be finally revealed until January 17—if then.
Last summer, the commission released a framework for license applicants to make their pitches for building the new racino.
By early fall, five proposals had been received: three in Clovis, with the remaining two in Lordsburg and Tucumcari.
But a feasibility study conducted for the commission by the New Orleans-based Convergence Strategy Group, a market research firm, prompted one of the applicants to cry foul.
Hildago Downs LLC, which had proposed the Lordsburg racino, said the findings of the study were flawed, moving for a temporary injunction against further commission proceedings in the matter.
The document published by the CSG, called Feasibility Study of a 6th Racetrack Casino License, made no recommendation as to which applicant should be selected.
But it did forecast that the three racinos in Clovis would individually bring in anywhere from $51 million to $66 million to the State; with the Tucumcari racino good for $42 million.
The Hildago Downs Lordsburg racino, however, was forecast to generate only $15 million for the State.
The study additionally said plans for races to take place at Hildago Downs for 60 days out of an 8-month period, would be “extremely costly for the track, and it seems unlikely, given the remote location, they could be successful and profitable from a racing perspective.”
Now New Mexico Attorney General Hector Baldera has announced that his office will not defend the commission should a suit be filed as a result of a racino decision.
Whether or not the commission will make a decision one way or the other on January 17 is anyone’s guess.
If a racino project finally gets a green light, said the CSG study, it would probably take anywhere from one to two years to complete.
The study added that the “economic impacts during construction are felt in the regional economy during that phase, but are one-time impacts, meaning they are not ongoing infusions to the regional economy.”
“In contrast,” continued the study, “the operations phase yields annual, ongoing impacts to the regional economy and the State.”
By Garry Boulard
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