A much-delayed proposal to build the latest and last combined racetrack and casino in New Mexico may be getting a second look in the wake of a new state Racing Commission membership team.
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has announced the appointment of five new members to the five-person commission, noting in a statement that she had “every confidence they will ably regulate and promote the continued development of this industry.”
One of the most-publicized issues the new members will confront is the building of a new racino, a project that has been talked about for the most part of the last decade.
Due to existing compacts with Native American tribes in the state that are already operating their own casinos, only six racinos are allowed in the state.
Five of those racinos are up and running in Albuquerque, Farmington, Hobbs, Ruidoso, and Sunland Park.
Which new racino proposal is ultimately approved by the New Mexico Racing Commission and where it will be built is expected to be one of the first challenges to be taken up by the body.
There are already five racino proposals which have been submitted to the commission. Three of those proposals would see the racino built in the Clovis area, while the other two are calling for its construction in either Lordsburg or Tucumcari.
The previous membership of the commission hired a company last year to put together an independent review of those applications.
To what degree the new membership will be guided by that review is not known. The commission is scheduled to hold its first meeting on May 16.
It is thought that a new racino would encompass at least 300 acres, costing anywhere from $70 million to $80 million to build.
By Garry Boulard
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